Football Manager – Lower League Management
So, having looked at my centre backs – now to my full backs. This is probably the most important position for me, as they will provide width and put early balls in the box to hit the head of big Jan. I’m also realising that I’m going to need a target man to act as an understudy.
My options, as well as Leoni (see previous post) who will provide cover as a defensive full back (can’t offer anything going forwards), start with young, promising right back – Romuald Marie. He’s only 21 year old, but is very strong aerobically (stamina and natural fitness 15), is quick enough (pace, acceleration of 13) can deliver a cross (12) and is OK going back the other way (tackling 8, marking 10). He’s also strong mentally, with positioning, teamwork and concentration of 12 and workrate 14. He’s from Longjumeau, a suburb very close to Orly airport in Paris, on the RER C line.
At left back, I’m intending to start the less promising and older Sébastien Giminez. He’s from La Seyne-sur-Mer which is across the bay from Toulon in the South, incidentally close to Hyères. He can cross the ball (12), has good stamina (15) and decent acceleration (11). He’s OK going back (tackling 11, marking 13, positioning 12), and is solid mentally (concentration 14, workrate 15, teamwork 13).
The reason why I’m so sure I’ll be starting these two is there are no other options at the club who are aged over 16 and don’t have a disturbing number of 1s in their skills. Leoni as cover all the way across the back four is looking more and more of an asset – must buy shiny new full back.
The centre back in France’s lower divisions needs to be physical – it’s a must. The leagues are very physical and you come up against some large strikers (none larger than my very own Jan Koller however). Jan also allows me to be a little bit more direct in my play, either out from the back, or getting lots of early crosses in. Thus I’m not so much looking for my centre backs to be ball playing virtuosos, rather, I’d like them to win the ball and get it away. Also – I’ll be looking for a partnership, rather than my best 2 centre backs. Unfortunately – my squad looks a little threadbare when it comes to centre halves.
I only have 2 specialist centre backs worth their salt – I’ll need to strengthen here – and a makeshift defensive midfielder and a utility player.
First choice has to be: Mr Steven Paulle – a 6′2″ 23 year old brute . He’s a bit of a thug, not so good technically, but very good in the air. He’s surprisingly strong mentally for this division, and he might well be good enough to stick with me for the next little while. The fact he’s a local boy also is a massive tick in his favour.
Second up would have to be Vincent Di Bartoloméo. He’s a little older, a little more cultured (tenchique 12, passing 11) but lacks a little more physically (pace 9) and mentally (aggression 8, determination 10). Personality wise – he’s from Montluçon which is almost in the middle of France.
Providing cover (when fit, he’s out for 3 months) is Ted Mondésir Lavie Mienandy, or Ted Lavie. A southener, from Montpellier, with a Congolese (Democratic Republic) background, he’s a holding midfielder who played 3 games for Girodins de Bordeaux in the mid 2000s. He’s pretty handy, hard working and mentally strong, with a good long shot (14) and an ability to break up play (tackling 12, work rate 16). As a centre back – out of position – he is solid (detemination & decisions 11, tackling 12, marking 9, heading 11, concentration and composure 14) without pressing to be first choice.
Finally – my utility man (can play in the centre and left back, but prefers right back) is Mr Stéphane Léoni. He’s being paid a pittance (230 Euros a week) but is solid enough, tackling, marking, heading and physically. Definitely fourth choice, but first choice as a sub because he is useful in a variety of positions.
So I need a fast, strong man to either replace Di Bartolomeo or act as cover – good to know.
I’ll be spending the next few posts
The goalkeeper. They also call him doorman, keeper, goalie, bouncer or netminder, but he could just as well be called martyr, pay-all, penitent or punching bag. They say where he walks, the grass never grows.
— Eduardo Galeano, Soccer in Sun and Shadow
So with the hand I have been dealt, there are three options as first choice goalkeeper, as my youth prospects are pretty thin on the ground.
Firstly – Mr Guiamme De Courcy, born in Abdijan (Cote d’Ivoire), he’s 24, employed on a part time contract which expires at the end of the season, and frankly, he’s far and away 3rd choice.
Secondly – Jerome Hiaumet, born in Alencon, Normandy in 1979. He’s employed at 750 a week, on a part time contract, again expiring at the end of the season. His strengths are his shot stopping and handling, however, he is seriously deficient in coming off his line and his first touch. To be honest, I probably don’t trust him. Which leaves:
Thirdly – Jeremy Gavanon – this guy looks the real deal. He’s really good at shot stopping (15 reflexes and 13 handling) OK in the air (8 Aerial Ability, 11 Command of area) and good mentally. However – I do sympathise with his teamwork 1. He does his job – not much else.
Here’s teh comparison between Gavanon and Hiamulet – and there’s really not that much to choose between them.
and my coach decided that Gavanon should be number 1. I agree.
First things first – sorry for the delay. I started a new job, and have a lot on at the minute. However – given that I’m not playing football this season (rehabilitating a knee reconstruction) – I figure the next best thing to managing (which incidentally, I am, a team of 11 year olds) in real life, is managing one of my idols in Football Manager.
I’ve resigned from my Hyeres job – and instead have started a new save for AS Cannes.
Those of you who remember my rant about them earlier in the season will know why. 2 words, Jan and Koller. 6′8″ of amazingness.
I don’t care what happens this season, I just want him to like me.
By the way – if you don’t already know how awesome Jan Koller is – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5c_x9WLmok
See you soon.
You’ll be hearing from me again very soon. It’s amazing what some spare time and a bit of incentive does.
So for the match against Creteil, I opted for the same side as last time, looking to reward them for their fine work.
10 Mins in, disaster. Their right back cleared a long ball forward, which was bouncing harmlessly to my Jules Vanni, my keeper. He had a brain freeze (a la Mad Jens) running out of his box and heading straight to one of their players, who chipped him with ease. I wasn’t having any effect on the game, and further disaster struck on 27 mins where I left their striker with too much space 22 yards from goal and he smashed a strike into the bottom corner. I switched to a diamond just before half time, and matched them for a bit.
I tinkered and I tweaked, but today was not my day. Sodden, in my suit on the touchline, they rifled in a free kick in the 57th minute. I then lost turtle man Denga to injury for 3 months (after making my 3 subs) so was playing a 441 diamond with Tony Patrao as a target man. We were awful, so I yelled at them after the match.
Argh, oh well, there’s always next week.
So, to the first day of (virtual) Spring. And I think it is time to have a look where we stand.
Firstly – to the table, I’m sitting pretty in 10th, having knocked off the league leaders.
Secondly – what the fans/board think. In short, they like who I’ve signed.
Thirdly – how the signings are doing (new signings are underlined). I’ll leave conclusions up to you, as I think it is still to early to draw major conclusions.
Ps C/90 = Passes completed per 90 mins
Ast = Assists
Dist/90 = Distance per 90 mins (in km)
Mins/Gm = Minutes played per game
Apps = Appearances (as substitute)
Fourthly -What lies in store.
Trips to 8th, 15th, 16th and 12th
While I welcome the clubs in 2nd, 7th, 3rd and 5th. It doesn’t get any easier.
Fifthly – What is happening elsewhere.
England: See how well Wolves are doing.
France: OM in the Relegation Zone?
I fear I may have chosen the wrong club.
I mentioned before of my affection for Jan Koller
Well check this out
Oh to restart in January with Mr Koller under my charge. Oh well, such is life.
Next up is the 997km trip to Amiens, a team predicted to come 3rd this season.
The only selection change was to bring in on loan (from parent club AS Monaco) Left/Centre Back Jérémy Dazzan as a more solid (and less attacking) option at left back.
They set up with a 5-3-2 with a sweeper and I was 8.00 outsiders. I set up with a counter-attacking strategy and told them the pressure was off.
We made and enterprising start and despite conceeding a lot of possession, we were able to prevent them from having a shot until the half hour mark. However, on the half time whistle, disaster struck. I was undone by a fine footballing move down the left. It was quite the passing move, and probably deserved a goal.
So, a goal down, I decided to start to blast them with long shots, and I actually came into the game a bit in the second half. Johan Gallon, however, was having next to no impact. So I subbed him and N’Diaye for Culainez (as a makeshift attack minded central midfielder) and Patrao as a target man.
I doubt it could have worked any better. With the minutes ticking away, and myself only really posing a threat from long shots, Vanni my keeper’s goal kick met Patrao, who nodded it down to his fellow sub. The play was then swiftly switched to Marancini down the left, who crossed and found the run of Patrao who smashed his header past the helpless keeper. 1-1, valuable point.
In the last 5 mins I subbed off the disappointing Diafutua for Oudjedi to shore up a 5 man midfield. Time wasted, job done.
This was an excellent result, and I’m proud of the lads, and I let them know this. Lesson learnt – Playing on the counter works against good teams, I really stifled their play – and that Culianez is an option as an attack minded centre mid.
Sorry for the delay, have been applying for jobs and rehabilitating my knee.
So, having gone 5 games unbeated, it is now time to face Club Sportif Louhans Cuiseaux 71.
So, I shape up to Patrick Deceguis, my ass. man., who informs me that the only advantage we hold over Louhans is height. How useful. I am slight underdogs, paying 2.73, and apparently they play a wide, high tempo 4-4-2. Hopefully my narrow pitch will be their undoing.
On the plus side, they are expecting a record crowd of “Over 500″, brilliant.
Selection wise, Mathias Di Mondo will make way for the more defensive Turtle Man Denga. Johan Culianez keeps his spot (just) as a wing back on the left. Otherwise, the only change is that Joel Kiki makes his way back to the bench and Di Mondo drops out altogether. I sent them out with a rigid philosophy, and a standard strategy , and told them they could win.
After 30 mins, I’d had 10 shots at goal, and so decided to throw the kitchen sink at them. I switched to a standard philosophy, and instructed Johan Gallon (on loan from Istres) to play in an advanced playmaker role.
Disaster – they score from a long shot, their first shot of the game. Revert to original plan, and play with an attacking strategy. I huffed, and I puffed, and I created 2 clear cut chances, both of which fell to Diafutua. However, I couldn’t break them down. For the last 10 minutes I played 4-2-4 with an overload strategy taking more risks, still couldn’t break them down.
Oh well, can’t win em all, have to try again next week, against Amiens FC – who the media think will come third this season. Two things which I learnt from the game – I need to stay solid at the back at all times, as I’m left too vulnerable if I commit men forwards. I lack a good creative midfield spark, and cover on the wings.