Raised on a diet of broken biscuits.
You know, I was actually naive enough to believe, just for a moment, that some of my half decent players would turn deals down elsewhere to stay at a club that didn’t pay them a penny to play each week.
In the end, 15 of my players went to other clubs (including Montrose, Queen of the South, Clyde, Forfar, East Fife, Dumbarton and Dunfermline. Ayr United nicked three of the buggers).
It was a chastening moment.
Faced with a bunch of friendlies that started before June was out, I had five players – my worst five players from last season. I think two of them made the bench at one point, but to be honest I couldn’t tell much difference in quality between them and the greyed out ‘filler’ players in my reserve squad.
The departures included my world-beating right back Ross Millen, who is clearly destined to win international caps now that he’s signed for East Fife. Mate, I thought you’d find a better club than that.
The strangest transfer was my reserve goalkeeper, Andrew Murphy, signing for Rotherham on a two-year, £1,000 p/w deal. He must be a cat, because he’s definitely fallen on his feet.
Anyway, to cut a very long (and very boring) story short, I spent hours sifting through the players that were released by other clubs to see if I could assemble some sort of team ahead of our first friendly against Kelty Hearts.
This I did, but I was like one of those shoppers on Black Friday who bursts into Asda as soon as the store opens and buys a big TV just because it’s there – without considering whether the telly’s actually any good.
So I blindly bagged myself a load of bang average players from the bargain bin.
Now, I had been doubting my ability as a tactician given how rare victories have been for me on FM17, but I’m glad to say that even with a bunch of barely-human misfits I was able to assemble them in some sort of formation and instruct them to beat a fellow amateur side 4-2. It was actually a half-decent performance.
We weren’t convincing in our 1-1 draw at Clyde, and the 2-1 win at Darlington 1883 was, if I’m honest, lucky.
Then followed a couple of catastrophes. We were very lucky to lose by only two goals at Partick Thistle, and then we got an official dicking at Oldham. They could’ve scored ten but settled for just the six.
For those of you who know a bit about Scottish football, you’ll know their season starts with four group games in the Betfred Cup. We won just once – on penalties – so the less said about that, the better.
By this time I’d signed enough players to fill the bench on match days. I don’t recognise any of the names in real life, but a couple of them – Carlo Monti and David Turnbull – look like they might actually be quite good.
This is Monti:
And here he is, scoring a superb goal against Albion Rovers:
But it’s Groundhog Day. After three games we’re in a familiar position:
Here are my results so far – slightly worried about the amount of red on this list:
The board isn’t overly concerned at this point, given that we weren’t expected to progress in the cup and that the media expect us to finish 9th. However, the players are still playing like the bunch of strangers they really are, and my tactical inconsistency probably isn’t helping.
I think I should be awarded Manager of the Year already on the sole basis that I managed to get around 14 players to sign ‘contracts’ at Queen’s Park that are literally worth nothing.
Oh, and the 16-year old promoted from my youth set-up who was described as the best thing since sliced bread?
Pinched by Dunfermline within two weeks.
With no ability to tie even half-decent 16-year olds down (a sentence that will attract the attention of the internet police, no doubt) there’s no hope for building a bright future.
No, just exist. Turn up, play matches of football, entertain the sparsely populated national stadium as best you can, and go home.