Following on from my earlier post introducing the real-life club, here’s how it translates into the game.
Just as in the real world, the virtual club begin life at level 12 of the football pyramid, in the Middlesex Football League Division One (Central & East). Home is Mabley Green, an all-weather artificial pitch in Hackney Wick, which in reality has no proper capacity but for the purposes of the game is set at 1000, all standing, with the ability to expand up to 5000 – the required capacity for entry into the Football League. Facilities for youth players and training are terrible. The club in the real world are Amateur, but due to database issues, we will start as semi-pro.
The staff are a mix of the real life club staff and some added help – The chairwoman, director (IRL vice-chairman), assistant manager and Head of Youth Development are all members of the real club staff, whilst the Chief Scout, Head Physio and Head of Sports Science were previously low reputation free agents in the database. To keep to Bobby Kasanga’s plan of involving more women in football, I deliberately chose a female Physio and Head of Sports Science to fill those roles. Everything about the manager is a true to life representation of myself. No coaching badges, no reputation, no experience.
The players were all created in the editor based on information and descriptions given to me by the club’s social media team. Key attributes were fixed, but the majority were left random, especially Potential Ability. Current Ability is set between 30-45, primarily based on age but partly influenced by the descriptions given. The obvious weakness in the squad is a lack of cover in goal and in both full-back positions, which will hopefully be rectified during pre-season by scouting and holding trials to source new signings. Bobby Kasanga is captain, Joseph Castle is vice-captain.
We are predicted to finish 1st in the league by the media, and the board expect to win both the league and the Middlesex Senior Open Cup. As a new club, we will not be able to participate in the FA Cup until three years have passed since creation… I think.
In terms of tactics, the plan is to keep it really simple but allow some actual football to be played. I’m hoping to keep a decent level of possession and keep the ball on the floor rather than the stereotypical Sunday league hoofball. I’ve identified who I think will be the best roles and players to achieve this, and they’ll be my starting eleven. I’ve never been huge on rotation, only usually changing personnel when forced. The second string will be played in the cup to keep them happy regarding playing time, assuming we stay in it as long as the board expect us to!
I have lots of lofty aims, targets and milestones in mind to reach for this career, but for now, even reaching the Football League is a long-term goal. I hope you’ll follow us on this journey… From the Marshes to the Top of the World!
You can follow game-by-game as well as receive live game-world updates by following me on twitter – @FromTheMarshes
NOTES & DISCLAIMER: I’m using Dan BHFC’s ‘E22 – England to Level 22’ database, found here on the Sports Interactive forum. I’ve added more depth to the club via the pre-game editor to make the club as real as I could with the information available to me. Thanks to @HackneyWickFC I was able to get info on the playing staff in order to create them in game, though not all details are factually correct such as some dates of birth, though most if not all the players are the right age (give or take a few months) at the start of the game. The CA range given is probably a bit generous given the clubs’ level, but because FM just isn’t designed to be played this low down, it’s easy to sign players good enough for the Conference, and I wanted to keep the real squad together as long as possible. Some liberties have been taken in the interests of long-term playability, such as all players given high loyalty ratings and their favoured club is Hackney Wick to counter that the club are amateur and to prevent players being easily taken by rivals. Also, in 2023/24 the club will move into Brisbane Road in a groundshare with Leyton Orient, so that the club doesn’t build a stadium in the near-ish future that is realistically too small for a Football League/Premiership club, given the game has a 20-25 year period between new stadiums being allowed to be built.