Friday, 25 February 2011

Completed Football Manager...

Eight years it took me. Eight freakin' years. But finally, I have managed to win the Champions League with the Toffees. It all started way back in the 2010/11 season, where a broke Everton with no transfer budget lingered mid-table. Seeking to assert my stamp on the Merseyside outfit, I made the executive decision to get rid of all my superstars - Cahill, Arteta, Pienaar, Yakubu...all those that would fetch me moneyz. I concentrated in developing my yoofs, managing to finish fourth in my first season and more or less stay there for the next four seasons, consistently qualifying for the Champion's League bar one year. Surprising to myself, I even managed to reach the semi-final in consecutive years. Yet, winning football's biggest club competition still eluded me. I put this down to the relative inexperience of my young squad, packed with teenagers and having an overall average age of 23. By the fifth season I had come to dominate the Premier League, and, by the eighth, had won the competition three times in a row. It was in this eighth season where my youngsters finally came of age. Now all between the ages of 25 to 28 and in the peak of their careers, I reached the final of the Champions League. Fortunately for me, main contenders Barcelona and Man Utd were knocked out in the group stages, giving me the best shot at the title I'd ever had. Observe, the road to the Final...

The Road to De Kuip...

Going into the 2018/19 season having just secured back-to-back Premiership titles, I did not have to go through qualifying and was consequently seeded first. Blessed was I with a deceivingly appearing easy group stage. The main challenge were 2017 Seria A Champions, and 2018 runners up, Palermo, who had come a long way since I started the game. Not all started according to plan. Indeed, the first group game was away to them, and they gave me quite a scare as I managed to snab a scarcely deserved 1 - 1 draw. The second game at home to group whipping boys, Israeli outfit Maccabi Irony Petach-Tikva, didn't go exactly according to plan either, as they made me fight for a 3 -2 victory. I was beginning to feel that this wouldn't be my year again. However, by the third game against Rubin Kazan the groove suddenly started to flow, beating them 3 - 1 away and then 5 - 0 in the return game at Goodison. Palermo still proved tricky when they came for a visit, but the 2 - 1 scoreline was more comfortable than it sounds. The final group game saw a 3 - 0 victory over M. Petach-Tikva. Forward!

Everton 5 - 0 Olympique de Marseille (First Leg)
Olympique de Marseille 0 - 1 Everton (Second Leg)
(Everton win 6 - 0 on aggregate)

Everton 4 - 1 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich 1 - 1 Everton
(Everton win 5 - 2 on aggregate)

Hamburger SV 1 - 4 Everton (First Leg)
Everton 5 - 1 Hamburger SV (Second Leg)
(Everton win 9 - 2 on aggregate)

The stage was set. A final against Atletico Madrid - a team I had not lost to in my two previous meetings. The history was on my side. What followed was Everton's most illustrious moment in their history...

Highlights from today's Champions Cup Final match between At. Madrid and Everton. The match was played out to a crowd of 51177 at De Kuip in Football Manager 2011 with Everton picking up the win with a 5 - 1 victory.

Complete annihilation. Everton, European Champions for the first time. Behold the team that achieved this incredible feat...







Tactical Genius...

So how did I do it? Well, this tactic pretty much got me to where I am today. It took a few seasons to figure out the defensive line, width and tempo that worked best with the formation, but it is more or less an adaptation of what I used in my Wolves game. The secret is to set your two central midfielders to defensive duties, with one as a ball-winning midfielder and the other a deep-lying playmaker. Obviously you want a rock as your ball-winner, and Rodwell suited the job perfectly. With Ramsey's creativity and passing attributes, it made him the perfect playmaker. The fact that both are set to defensive means that you're rarely caught out in the final third of your half. With your two holding midfielders playing so deep, and your wingers so far up the pitch, it means they can collect the ball and set your wingers off quickly on a counter-attack. The beauty about this tactic is that, in my experience, it is pretty much plug 'n' play. Regardless of your team, once they get used to it winning becomes a habit that's difficult to kick.


Some may question whether I cheated by restarting the game when I lost. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that this run was 100% genuine. And with that, I am retiring. I'm never playing this fucking stupid time-vortex of a game again. Goodnight.