Welcome in! So, as you can see from the title, I’ve finally selected a club to start as in FM20. I’m heading to Serbia, and managing FK Mačva Šabac.
Many of the brilliant bloggers about spend a fair amount of time researching and plotting their next moves in FM, but despite being a massive micromanaging control freak type, planning saves it not something I do a lot of (see last year’s ridiculous choosing of Frankfurt, because Eintracht is Concord in German).
This year, I knew I didn’t want to start in one of the big leagues, and I still don’t want to go back to a full blown lower league save after Concord in FM18.
So, how did I end up at Mačva Šabac? Well, chatting in Slack, researching for a Serbian league seg on the One More Game Podcast and finally, incredibly scientifically, getting the FM20 beta, and choosing the team that were predicted to finish bottom of the SuperLiga…
In my FM19 save, Serbian clubs didn’t make much of an impact beyond Serbia’s shores (this is a joke – Serbia is landlocked) in the fourteen seasons I played through. By 2032, Serbia was down to 23rd in the Nation Club Coefficients, and likely would’ve fallen two more places had I played another season. Conversely, Serbia’s national side had maintained a position in the top 16 in the world for a full decade.
Why am I bringing this up? Well firstly, a national team consistently that highly ranked, must be bringing through quality players, which is nice.
Secondly, hopefully a long-term aim for this save will be to boost Serbian football as a whole. In FM19, Partizan won all but one SuperLiga title (the other going predictably to Red Star) and there were no significant pushes into European competition for Serbian clubs. Perhaps one day we might compete with the big guns, raise the reputation of the league and who knows, maybe get big names to come over, and keep the impressive Serbian talent at home.
But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Baby steps…
In the aforementioned FM19 save, Mačva Šabac seem to have been a bit of a yo-yo side, although they claimed a Serbian Cup in 2030. Can we do any better?
For a slightly more thorough background on the club, please see Wikipedia.
Any images from this point are from the FM20 beta, and therefore potentially subject to change. Here are the board’s initial ideas:
The club culture runs largely counter to how I’ve played in the past, although I have had some success with defensive mentality tactics in recent times, if that’s relevant. The tool tip explanation clears things up a bit:
So, a defensive mentality is not relevant. If my experiences with Brescia in the beta are anything to go by, an overly defensive tactic could be a bad idea anyhow, as it yielded an awful lot of “shots faced”. So what they’re looking for, is not so much “defensive football”, as a solid defensive record. This is more in my wheelhouse.
As for the competition expectations, they show a gradual and logical growth and are certainly what we’re looking for. Although it’d perhaps be nice if we could do it a little faster…
After a quick snoop about the squad, I have mixed feelings. There aren’t any players that stand out as supreme talents, but there are plenty of 3 and 3.5 star players. Of the few 4 starrers, I like the look of this fella, though he’s days away from his 31st birthday:
And age is one of the major concerns with the squad as a whole. After a quick mooch, and selecting a likely starting eleven, I worked out it’s average age is a touch in excess of 30!
There’s a dearth of young talent too. In all, there’s only one player that’s under-20 and he’s the fourth choice goalie. Literally empty reserve and U19 squads. It may be a while until I get to enjoy the full use of the development centre.
There are a couple of likely looking 20 year-old players, and despite his hideous determination attribute, this lad is my favourite:
Hopefully we can mentor the bejesus out of him and train up those physicals a bit.
Speaking of training, and of staff, Mačva Šabac has some needs. The coaching staff is there, but there is no recruitment team, and an understaffed medical team. Something to take care of early doors.
For those of you that demand information on facilities:
About mid-table in terms of stadium size, although the top two are miles ahead. The facilities overall are OK, but obviously, we’d like to get them improved eventually.
I’ve had an initial thought or two about tactics, and the first plan looks like this (squad number purists, look away now):
It’s understandably coloured by my beta experiences, and hopefully it will prove solid enough to give us a decent enough start, while I figure out the playing staff more.
I’m not going into this save with an itinerary of formal aims or goals. Instead, I look forward hopefully, with the idea of letting the new club vision feature do a lot of that for me. For now, I’ll be trying to perform well enough to keep my job, with the hope that this new feature will allow me to input some of my own ideas further down the line. True enough, I’ve got a few notions for myself, like the nebulous “growing Serbian football” as mentioned above, but for now, let’s just not get fired, yeah?
So that’s my little introduction. Personally, I’m looking to play a little slower this year. After a strong start last year, I feel like I flew through too quickly in the pursuit of glory. With this edition I intend to spend more time on player development, tactics, and watching more of the highlights than previously.
I’ll be starting with the first transfer window disabled, to force me to use the players here for a bit, instead of diving straight into the transfer and loan markets.
Next time out, I suspect I’ll be covering the first part of the season, as we try to get to grips with keeping it tight, not losing too much, and being effective at set pieces. A challenge? Hopefully…
Thanks for reading, and enjoy release day!