The Football Manager Diaries: Page 3

Just Like Tinder, It’s a Match!

I need to get the team ready for our first match against Raith. I head into the Tactics – Formation screen and properly inspect my players for the first time. I flick through each of their profiles but I’m struggling to make sense of the team on my small iPhone screen without resorting to pen and paper. I’ve been playing this on the bus to work so apart from breathing heavily on the windows and making notes there I’ll have to wait until I’m home. I feel the urge to write up all the players into a spreadsheet but that’s not in the spirit of the game, which as mentioned previously, gets accused of being a glorified spreadsheet.

Back to the tactics and the default 4-4-2 diamond is clearly not working for my team. The Red/Amber/Green highlighting is a helpful nudge that I need to shake things up.
Falling back on nostalgia, I remember using this shape in Champ Manager 3 to great success. I can largely fill all slots but there’s still room to improve. After a few more switches I realise I’m going about this wrong and need to pick a formation that fits my team and not the other way round. I sort the team by Current Ability which gives me some star ratings and I start slotting them into their prefered positions.

After some trial and error I end up with a 4-1-2-1-2 which just sounds plain wrong to my ears but the dark greens looks correct in my eyes. It’s more of a 4-4-2 squishy diamond if you ask me. I save the formation as my starter for ten, or… er, eleven I guess. There are other options to set their style of play (attacking, balanced, counter, etc) but I settle for the default settings. I want a default game to gauge my default team. Depending on how I fair I’ll start fiddling with the switches.

Ready, Set, Goal, Fiddle.

The match games play out with commentary snippets that describe the action and then break away to top-down 2d highlights of goals and other key events. I’m immediately reminded of the thrill of watching these low fidelity matches. The game is playing well to my nostalgia. Apparently the full PC version of Football Manager comes with a 3d match engine full of animations but for me that would break the alure and most likely kill my iPhone battery.

The game goes fast and I get we score our first goal. You never forget your first goal. Well done *checks match analysis* to young Balantyne. It’s nice to see the team keeping formation too. I used to feel a bit detached watching the matches before but not now.

In terms of management decisions at half time I subbed two players with low condition with two other players. The lack of names there shows you the level I am managing at right now. I swap out my second striker but kept Balyntine on the pitch and I tweak the Tactics from Balanced to Attacking. It’s a friendly and I want to decidely win my first match. You always want to start a new project with some quick wins to build trust and momentum.

Yes! The match was won! 2-1 is a solid result.

David Balantyne got Man of the Match and looking at the ratings the whole team performed better than the opposition. I may have pushed Ballantyne harder than the others looking as he finished with the lowest Condition but it was worth it. He can recover on the bus ride home.

Where there’s numbers there’s statistics and when there’s statistics there’s many a management mistake to be made in a knee-jerk response. I don’t read much into the stats here other than it was a fairly even match. 10 fouls seems a bit high though. I’ll need to watch out for that and, if needed, send them to acting/stage fighting classes so they can fool the referees.

Another new feature to me is the post-match analysis. I should look to improve my mid field but otherwise I’m really pleased with how my first match went. I’ll probably play a few more friendly matches before I write another page in  The Football Manager DiariesTM. I’m not wanting this diary to be a burden and I’m already taking many more screenshots and writing many more words than I thought I would.

You should know now that I’m not going to write detailed commentary of each match. Here’s a choppy video of the match highlights to give you a feel of the pride I feel now:

As a final observation, my writing style is decidely clipped and more bullet point-y than I’d prefer. Perhaps I’m just noticing it because of the screenshot/description/screenshot/description format I’ve fallen into. Regardless I am having fun playing the game and having fun reflecting on the experience. The reflection aspect is something I don’t often do while playing a game and I hope I’ll spot ways to improve my team’s performance by writing these posts up.