An Introduction to Project Red Wine – A Brilliant Football Manager 2015 Story
Welcome to this new Football Manager 2015 story where JediFootball will share with you some of his best tips picked up by playing the beloved game, reading articles from numerous Football Manager bloggers, affiliates and fansites.
This brilliant Football Manager 2015 save story gives you an introduction to the Project Red Wine – a new kind of challenge which looks to make the save more enjoyable. Curious about what the FM15 Project Red Wine really is all about? Keep on reading…
First off, I am no football tactical expert. I have a slight understanding of how actual football works and what the different concepts are. But I have played Football Manager long enough to WANT to understand real life football and Football Manager football. Sounds funny and redundant eh?
Over the course of my managerial life in Football Manager, I have read countless articles and downloaded tactics endlessly. If it did not work, I just replaced it with another one that probably won’t t work after a couple of games. The cycle will then repeat itself and I will be back to square one asking myself what to download next. Some tactics have a disclaimer that it is a replication of a real life tactic for TEAM X and may not work as effectively with TEAM Y. I agree with that now after a ton of different tactic downloads. I write this now to share my passion and the things I picked up through READING and UNDERSTANDING the concepts from a lot of sites and writers.
Hopefully through this post, beginners like me will fall in love with the game and NOT fall out of love due to getting fired numerous times or having losing season after losing season and eventually getting fired. Believe me, I know. This will not be a tactical post, but a guide how one can simply get things to work to YOUR liking. I highlighted YOUR liking because at the end of the day, we play to satisfy ourselves and no one else.
First point is choosing a team you really really like. Now a lot of us would see bloggers choosing teams from countries that they have not played in previously. Or teams at the bottom of the bottom leagues. I have tried that previously and to some extent succeeded with my beloved Oviedo team. The save got corrupted and I did not want to do things over. So I went ahead and selected a team that is really close to my heart; Liverpool. I have never played this team yet in FM after pursuing challenges in lower league management when the game launched. But I have ties to Liverpool dating back to the days I played FM Handheld on my PSP. Yes I know it is a big team but Liverpool now presents a challenge in its own right. Why not select a TEAM A or B from LEAGUE Z? Because I don’t want to. We play to satisfy ourselves and no one else. Had I chosen some team that did not really interest me, then perhaps I would be starting save after save and would not have had the courage and results to even write this post.
If you are a beginner, or even a Football Manager veteran struggling to make things work and stick to a save, choose something you would enjoy. Choose to do a save with a team that will interest you. If the bloggers you read choose unpopular teams, that’s because they know what they are doing and more importantly, that is what interests them at that point. Having a team you like will help you survive the growing pains of employing a new tactic.
Second step is to look at the team and view the players from senior squad to the youth team. Who do you want to keep and who must go? A lot of differences in concepts here since there will be managers who will go on a purchasing spree while others will remain loyal to the current crop of players. Again this is purely your choice. Although logic will dictate that the more new people and new concepts in an organization, the longer it may take for everyone to buy into the philosophy.
What helped me in this step was the vision I had for the save. What did I really want to attain with the save I started with Liverpool? That was the ultimate question. A lot of interesting scenarios or conditions to choose from. For this particular save, I told myself that I will retain everyone. I will build from the youth team and bring them in slowly into the first team. I also put in a personal rule that I will only be purchasing or signing players under the age of twenty four. I will also only sell players if a bid for their existing value comes in or if they want to leave. Lastly, players who request to leave, will be offered out. I think these conditions or transfer policies will make this save more exciting. Overall, I will be a producer of talent selling only at the right price at the right time.
Next thing I did was to view each player’s natural position. In my mind I wanted to implement a classic 442 and even tried it until the season’s first week but changed it due to the string of injuries in my first month. More like long list of injuries. When this happens you will soon find yourself with a short bench and a dilemma on who to field in. The best tip I read somewhere was to look at the natural position of your stars and plug them into the tactics screen one by one. From there you would be able to find a basic formation. I ended up with an imbalanced formation so I had to make some adjustments.
I did end up with a 2-3-1-2-2 with my WonderBoy Sterling playing in the AMC spot. I settled with the formation as I saw several kids to cover each position with this set up. This also allowed me to field in my best eleven and maintain some quality off the bench. Overall this formation matched the vision of my save. Having sufficient quality cover from the young guns will also guarantee them some air time on the pitch.
After the formation, I asked myself how I would want to play. Although the board demanded I play attacking and possession football, I told myself that I can pull off something else. Looked at the best attributes for my club and saw that decisions, passing, strength and first touch were four that I found the team ranked within the top six in the league. That tells me that my players will generally choose the proper person to pass to using a pass that will best suit the recipient. It also tells me that my players are generally good recipients of passes and when a ball is received, they would generally be able to hold on to it. This was my simple understanding of the information so I decided to go with a defensive and structured approach. Although attributes are not my main basis for recruiting players, they helped me formulate a bird’s eye view of the type of play my team will have.
Now I know this may raise eyebrows but at that time I felt that I wanted them to be careful and protect the ball. Measuring the risk involved, they would pick a pass and move to an open spot. That is how I saw it in my mind. With those things in my mind, I then selected the team instructions. In my head, I had an imaginary video projecting the players movement and actions in my mind. I went for the three most basic instructions I thought would make the video into a reality in FM.
Shorter Passing – Much Higher Tempo – Exploit the Flanks
I then added the next three after watching a few pre-season games in full.
Push Higher Up – I found that the defense was too deep absorbing a lot of pressure from the attack
Pass Into Space – I just like playing risky coupled with excellent acceleration and pace from most of my players
Higher Tempo – I switched this since I saw a lot of players rushing passes into space (which was already risky to begin with)
After watching another string of pre-season games, I added the following:
Prevent Short Distribution – This looked to work well with closing down more and even saw Sturridge score a goal heading a goal kick as he was hounding the keeper
Play Wider – I found that we were too narrow going forward and had several issues with players being bunched together. I think this solved the problem although others may beg to differ.
Close Down More – Saw that opposition players had too much space and time on their hands.
Key here is watch the games in full. Do not implement changes all at the same time. Once you’ve settled on the instructions and obtained consistent results, feel free to switch back to highlights.
Next task was roles. Now I know there have been articles providing suggested role pairings. I followed these to some extent and added a touch of my own. I also found that these pairings would really vary from tactic to tactic. The key here is…yes! Watching games in full and moving away from key highlights. Through this method, you can list down issues you see and tweak them after a few games of recurrence. Took a few months into the season before I finally settled on a set of roles which yielded the results that I want.
I did not sign anyone at the start of the game. I started signing players when the January transfer window started. I wanted to give the players a chance to gel and perform. I was also trying to be prudent with the finances. I also knew that Captain Gerrard was leaving by the end of the year. Emre Can also requested to be moved due to one of the team talks where I blasted him. With all these in mind, I started my foray into the transfer window.
Jesus Vallejo – Saw that he was still the old contract with a very low release clause of £1.1M. I know I will make money off him and put him to good use within the save. Also matches my philosophy of signing players between 17 and 24 years old. I also needed a central defender for the long term. Sent him on loan to gain more experience.
Sami Khedira – This went against the fiber of my transfer policy but I saw him as a potential tutor for the younger players I will develop. He was signed on a Bosman and will join in the second season.
Lucas Silva – Transfer listed by Real Madrid, I saw this an opportunity to make some money if not utilize him for a specific role in the team. Valued at 11.5M, he was purchased for 7.5M with room to grow. Ended the season valued at 13M I think.
Asier Illaramendi – I play with a DM on a DLP role. He fits the job and provides a first level tutor because of his fairly professional personality. He was also very undervalued being let go for £4.5M.
All these transfers incorporate some Moneyball philosophies which I will adhere to and discuss more later in the series. But more importantly they serve a purpose for my save. Either as a tutor or a player I will actually stick with or a player I can make money off. Now, I think I will be set for the next season. If I purchase over the break, I would probably for young cheap projects whom I would look to develop.
I shall finish the first season and provide the second part of Project Red Wine. Just like wine, the core of current Liverpool players become better and better as they age. I look forward to ending the FM15 campaign with this save. Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoy the content I will produce. Watch out for Part 2 and see how we ended the season and if Hairy Potter is retained as Liverpool’s manager! Shalom!