Sunday, 27 April 2008

The Close Season Part I

I have noticed that when signing players or leaving players go it can have a massive effect on morale. Hopefully SI have coded it so that during the close season this is effectively turned off.

The last two season starts have coincided with an horrific run of form for me so hopefully third time lucky.

There are still some players coming and going at the Jakski. Rios contract is up come Monday and with his talent he was going to be lost to a wage auction no doubt. With a new Right Back brought in for just shy of a million Rodriguez, Pablo now moves into the MC role. Rios is in auction and as I recall (servers down again) stands at £500k.

Thus far Rodriguez has done a good job. Another arrival, I found a kid in auction at 16 had breathtaking pace with the rest of his talents hovering around the 8/9 mark. Whilst SI have toned down the effect of pace (it used to pace wins end of) pace remains a vital part of the game.
He was quite strong for a 16 year old and there was something about this kid that just made me think he had buy written all over him. My thinking here was a one season deal if he showed a glimpse of talent then I could lock his contract and review year by year.

He’s a classic acquisition, actually many kids have cultured technical ability so go for big money but this one was never going to be bagging first team football until you had developed him a fair bit.

If the first six games are anything to go by I have nothing at all to worry about, the raw pace you’d expect but he doesn’t just blindly shoot and I see him lay off lovely little balls all over. The finishing is classic Henry style and I think I may have another Walcott in hiding.

If he improves his technical skills by 20% then he’ll be worth already what I’m paying him, £5k, if he improves by more then he’s going to be a superstar!

The main reason for the purchase was to get something interesting for the U17’s for next season, there is already a very good foundation in there but this kid is the icing on the cake. £5k is a big punt for me on a kid. His name I can’t remember and can’t tell you BECAUSE THE SERVERS ARE DOWN AGAIN! Still as a Beta it’s awesome and should be expected.

Sousa’s contract is up but it looks as no one is showing interest, I’m surprised as he has high rep and fairly good stats, still at 30 he’s not a match winner.

The search for players now is almost over I’ve left around at least a £60 - £70k surplus in there and still have a substantial transfer fund. Really big names tend to go for around £3 - £5m so when the right one pops onto the market I’ll take shot.

The Auto Extend feature of the game certainly keeps you on your toes. Current Auto Extends are Pablo / Tarik / Moya / Arda and I think one of the kids, it could be Derds. Daikte isn’t on an auto extend and BADLY needs to be. So one of the five will have to go during the season which is a scary thought!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Red Mist Auctions

So the Wage auctions have started and let me tell you it's insanity all over again.

I know I thought I would go heavy on a few players but it turns out I just can't bring myself to do it. You start looking and think ahh I've heard of this guy, you look at his stats, performance and then study the teams in for him. I check and can afford to outbid them but I'm not going to, I know eventually I can find cheaper elsewhere.

I managed to bag two Big Strikers to bounce off Wendall it might work, it might not, but these are well under £10k a day. It's an experiment, oddly one of them Franco looks a very good striker with a proven track record of a goal every other game.

It's not simply a case of if their good strikers but if their the right type of strikers. One player I did go heavy on was Romulo (I can't check his name as the servers are down again). The teams in for him I didn't think were serious apart from Wooley Hotspur who I know needed a target man.

Romulo has a wage demand of £12k and for once I went big at £25k and actually felt quite confident of bagging him. Then I started having second thoughts this guy didn't have any pace at all and that was the reason that Purovic went. The hour came and surprisingly Chris Nash of Surreal Madrid had chucked in £35k.

Romulo may or may not have been worth £25k that's a debating point however £35k I'm fairly confident is a no no. If he was 21 maybe but at 27 then no.

A lesson learnt here as then I looked elsewhere and found a free agent Franco with a simliar record, just as good in the air, had pace and only cost £4k a day. So assuming that Franco pans out I know have a £30k day advantage over one team.

Here is where I think I have a trick over other teams. Not wishing to blow my own trumpet but the team that takes the pitch is normally half that off wage over the other teams.

Often these teams have no youth policy and almost always have an older squad than mine. When you consider we're now bouncing between 50 and 100 in the rankings I'm fairly confident that my strategy is one that produces sustainable results.

I don't know why the insanity in auctions continues but I'll try to guess the psychology. One game a player makes a mistake, doesn't take a chance something... then the manager thinks that this player need replacing. The auctions start and players are shortlisted bids made. The manager loses out and takes it like a loss, the next player they will not be 'beaten' and the manager is now starting to get red mist.

It doesn't take long for the silly bids to start the odd thing is the manager often feels like he 'won'. Securing a player that has a wage demand of £20k and paying him £65k instantly put him at a disadvantage to everyone else. If the manager had thought ahead he could of got someone on £20k a day who's young and then locked the contract.

A £65k a day player is like paying a £1.35million transfer fee every single season.

I know many would argue beta but we're at least three seasons away from release and as I've stated before I rather doubt that SI will kill a gameworld anyway.

Another arrival at the Jakski is a young 19 year old winger from the far east. Wage £1.5k and thus far looks totally breathtaking.

I managed to hold both my players in auctions with only a minor increase to the left backs salary. Honestly it's almost lazy of me not to look elsewhere as I do think I could do better. Still at least I know what I'm going to get.

The one gap in the first team now is at right back and arguably at MC. Currently Arda is playing MC and this is not a natural position for him Molnga is covering on the left wing. Pablo is covering Right Back and once again not a natural position.

Much thought has gone into Montero, a young 16 year old kid that often controls games at youth level. I played Seahorse (a very good team littered with stars) earlier today and brought Montero on and he gleefully skipped past their defence at least twice in the twenty minutes he was on.

I think the bottom line is that Montero is already at Championship / Premiership level but quite a way short of World Class. I have the money and budget to buy world class so maybe I should. If the right player at the right price comes along then I'll move.

More pressing though is right back, Pablo is a fiercely competitive player who whilst isn't quite world class but is consistent and would not be phased by any level of opposition. Naturally he's an MC and just the sort of player you want in the heart of your team.

What would really suit is a experienced old pro in his twilight years. Ceedorf was being offered in the Market chat room but I could see that this season he had moved for £2m. I assumed his current owner had expectations of at least that sort of money and I'm not paying that for a 34 year old. The search continues.

We managed to do the double at Under 21 level in the NFA this season getting it with a 3-1 win over Birmingham. Nice, the U17 thing remains unresolved.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Dawn of a New Age

Well we managed to get knocked out of the UFFA youth championships going down 2-1 at home to Kier, 1-1 away. I knew the writing was on the wall when I spotted his narrow formation, which my tactics had always struggled to cope with.

He had some highly paid youngsters as well and I felt they had an edge in quality in the right areas.

Youth form has been sporadic and the latest update seemed to have a dramatic effect on the team. So with the season almost over now is the time for a spring clean.

Fresh clean tactics based on a 4-4-2 formation are used with a few tweaks here and there. I now pick a team with the strongest eleven players on the pitch. Arda is moved into Centre Midfield and Malonga onto the left wing, Rios partners Arda in the middle with Pablo into the right back position.

I haven't quite decided when it's going to happen but Arda is set emerge as a truly a world class player, is it going to be this coming season or the one after?

The 4-4-2 is a classic formation and whilst not being fantastic in any one area should be able to cope with most things thrown at it.

Dundee Rio are on of the first clubs to be faced and only my second ever win over them puts a smile on my face. Kier who just knocked me out of UFFA and ranked Top 5 are next.

Open mouthed as we won 3-0.... The score did flatter us a little. However Arda bursting into the penalty box has such ability you either foul him or you don't get the ball. We all know a foul in the box is not good news!

Still from here on in the results don't matter as we have to build for a new season.

First up is a global strategy and a budget, how sad is this. With Premiership football assured next season we've easily got an income of £230k a day. It's time to be secure some top talent to compliment Wendall's growing prowess up front and maybe another Central Midfielder or Right Back.

Some players I'm leaving go so the current £150k should drop down. I don't mind starting the season with a £200k wage bill before cropping off some.

There are number of youngsters that are great players but ultimately not going to be securing a first team place so I'll be moving these out over the close season. One or two won't sell and wages are over £3k or are older then 25 will be released. I'll just have to take the hit on form.

Finding the right players to slot into my team is vital. Money isn't so much an issue, it's if their the right players.

I'm shortlisting possible MC's and a striker. I've looked around the gameworld and the crazy wages of last season simply have to be rarer now. The top 50 are full of teams with £220k a day wages.

So here is the plan if need be I'm going to get a few players on over the top wages. Find the right one and dump the rest I've worked out canceling a one season contract of £30k is going to cost me £450k.

So I can do that six times and still be cash rich! Ok it's a crazy scheme but with an abundance of money to spend why not!

Actually it's not impossible I lose a couple of players in auction myself. However my thought process on these is simply a question of if their worth their wage demand or not. The one's that I could lose are not worth what their demanding.

So if I can get them on what I've bid or under I win and if someone else wants them but to pay me the Aq fee I win!

I've already shortlisted targets in those positions which actually are either much better or cheaper. There is a saying there are no problems only opportunities and this could happen.

Youth most of the U17 team is already in place for next season as I've been grabbing the odd 15/16 Year Old to fill in the gaps.

Patrick is still only 18, Sene / Tehri will join him in the U19's. With Meretta / Adu / Villano also in the U19's will possibly be the strongest Youth Squad next season.

Under 21's, I'll still have a few emerging talents here, Meretta will feature certainly, Bruno returns from the mighty Reesy Rovers (see Alex I did mention it) and of course Wendall is only 20 now so he'll still be causing a few worries.

A few gaps in the U21 squad mainly on the wings as I'll be losing Malonga and Tarik. A young right back Rodgers still only 19 and with high influence has done wonders this season so I look forward to his progression.

Whilst the Youth comps are an entertaining distraction it's Premiership points I'm after.

I think we should qualify for UFFA at Senior level which is a massive achievement.

Overall the name of this game is to produce something that is sustainable. The surplus cash per day and a nice youth set up should do the trick.

Back on SEO for the furniture company selling Oak Furniture and finding the right Pine Solutions.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

NFA Premier League

I don't know why anyone would be interested in this but me but people seem to so a quick snapshop of my team.

Moya- A fantastic find, I compared him to Gordon a £600k Aq Fee Keeper currently pulling £33k a day and he was almost identical. Stats Performance the lot. £10k a day.

Casas - Is not bad at anything and not good at anything he's 27 a very boring player but at the back I guess this is what you want. Generally someone has to do something pretty special to get past him and he's consistent.

Diakite - Well awesome 21 Year Old DC, £2,500k a day and would shame many earning ten times that amount.

Maltriz - 30 Years Old current Captain, reliable but not a fantastic DC. This is one area I'd like to improve.

Meretta - 18 Years Old and a £2million signing plays at Senior / U21 / U19 level. Slightly out of position here but I tried him out and to get past him it's got to be really really special.

Zabaleta - Will be 25 next season and the engine of the team. I think he has two stats below 10, free kicks and flair.

Arda - Ouch £33k a day still only 22 I keep asking myself is he worth it.... Sometimes Tarik (ely on the right) can get bossed around by a good left back. Arda whilst not as exciting generally is able to compete against anyone. I need to make a decision on this guy as soon as.

Sousa - 29 now, quite high profile and gets the job done has good days and bad days. Kind of fits in with the squad as Montero comes on for him if it's not happening.

Tarik Elounoussi (Ely) - Can use either left or right foot, agile, quick, flies down the wing and it's a great sight. Sometimes gets lost against a good left back but still only 21 and that's not happening so much now.

Buval - Covering for Derds (out injured) he just isn't quite there, he's strong, he's quick, but he never really seems to quite do it for me. Derds is first choice. On a Wage Auction end of season his Wage Demand is £8k and he's on £2k, as a squad player £8k is too much so might keep him at the right price.

Wendall - At 19 was a bit of a wimp, flimsy, had the skill but first team was too much for him. Now at 20 starting to emerge, could command a very healthy fee and if he does improve much more will become truly a world class player.

Future Plans - There is no doubt that Meretta could hold the DC's spot from Maltriz but I would become concerned with having so many under 25's on the field. With Wage Auctions about to start I would really like to get Arda on a new contract and secure two mature Full Backs.

I think perhaps every team could say this but a 26 Year Old ish Superstar in the MC / AMC role would just put the icing on the cake and shoot us to greatness :p

NFA Premier League

Meanwhile the NFA Premier League is drawing to a close. It's taking some doing staying in that position as simply my players are not as good as the rest. Rafa's small squad got him through in the end (think he has just 15 players) although injuries have been turned up their not as high as they first were. Still he's done well and had real world class quality across the pitch.

Rafa has an ageing squad though so he'll need to do something if he's going to do it again and do well in UFFA next term. A lot of the teams have fallen idle again, FM Live is a horrbile game when it's starts to go wrong (no load save games).

Dundee Rio (change it back Kev) look good for second spot, they did the double over Rafa but lost points elsewhere.

Next season is going to be hard, I know AFC Plymouth is almost up and he's a really hard team to beat and just recently strenghtnend his squad with another top class striker. Sassine FC are literally littered with stars and assuming he can guide himself through the play offs has to be aiming for a Top 3 finish.

The Jakswans? Well avoid relegation was our aim, grab a few upsets along the way would be nice, but to finish in the Top 6 as looks likely is a fantastic success.

There is still some drama left for us in the season though. I think the U21 NFA title is in the bag but we're starting to shake at U17 level.

We're still alive and well in the UFFA Youth World Championships and at the Semi Final Stage.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Record Signing

I've been sitting on quite a lump of money for some time and various Managers have touted players. The money being talked of is way over the top. I think everyone seems to forget the glut of options that will be open to them once we enter the close season and wage auctions start.

However another Welsh Manager was pitching an Under 18 Year Old Centre Back. He had all the stats to be pretty much a starter. I mean what do you look for in a centre back, speed is not essential but you don't want him to be slow. Strength is important and you certainly want him to be good in the air. As far as personality goes he needs to work hard, he needs to be a team player and top of the list is concentration, being determined helps. If he was good at passing that would be the icing on the cake surely, well out of 20 is 19 enough?

What if I told you that with my scouting he's at least a good prospect but has AT LEAST all the things you look for and is only 18. I bet your almost sold on the deal here, but really he needs to prove himself at a senior level. Will nearly 200 games do? Eesh I bet he'll cost a bomb in wages how does £1,500 a day suit you sir?

OMG it so does!

So there you go a record signing at £2 million. Gah I've only got £3million left now and the £1,500 has made a massive dent in my £100k a day surplus. Ohhh and as he's 18 so it's a free auto extend for at least four months. Mind some managers said I was mad, I should have paid £2million for the same sort of player on £30k a day. That's a Million Per Season, no, I can do the math! Anyway take a look...

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Highs and Lows

So there we are just going along when we start losing a few games, then we lose a few more. Suddenly your looking back at ten games without a win and a team that plays like strangers.

No changes made, no players released no one sold, no one bought. This is the third time I have experienced this and it's FM Live at it's worst.

Even if you knew where it came from the only way out is to grind though the games as fast as you can.

Eventually a lucky result will come your way and slowly you'll come back.

The most frustrating thing is though you don't know why it happened and apart from crudely playing a load of games in the hope that you'll get out of the rut you've no idea how to end it.

Thankfully with the players now in the squad the end has to come somewhere. With a few wins back to back we seem to be back on tack.

Was it because I sold Camara, but that in game time was weeks ago, Jemma that was months ago. With a few injuries I had to move players in from U21 to cover first team, does this affect Squad Morale.

I had two players looking to leave to get first team football, no warnings from them though.

Was it because I had made a few tweaks to the team tactics, was it because I hadn't made enough changes.

All through these twenty games you wonder why and nobody has the answer. I'd be quite happy to be forced to see a drop in the rankings and be forced to play at a lower level and hopefully pick back up from there.

I don't know if I'd just started I'd have honestly stuck with the game..

This is a massive problem facing FM Live if you ask me. I've already covered it previously but how many will play if their in the bottom 300?

Today saw two top teams leave and dump their collection of players on the market. Players that normally go for millions sold for hundreds of thousands. Their aim to cause massive unrest and controversy.

Inter Midgets, a team I felt I had a chance of beating had taken two of these players. In our game I got hit with a beauty of a free kick 1-0. The second one went in and I checked, guess where the player came from...I abandoned I mean what's the point..The home game I did the same. Small protest from me but I hope the guy felt a bit empty with his six points.

Then I don't know where or how it started, but the odd win here and there. A few good results in the League a few bads ones as well. Then we have to play CUJummy one of the favourites for the title and grab a 1-0 lead. Only for it to slip away to the full blast of superstars on display for CUJimmy.

We're 2-1 down on 85minutes we grab a goal back, 2-2. With a few minutes to go Ely is on the wing he floats one in to the penalty spot and it's like your there at a game.... It plops onto Budals head and that one moment as the ball hits the back of the net it makes it all worth while, 3-2 to us.

Adam Buxton manager of Barcelona FC had started off well in the NFA Premier League and still had title aspirations. He had been nagging me to play our remaining fixture at our ground.

I wouldn't say we were playing great at the time but the side is settled now and I had no suspensions or injuries. We kicked off to a 2-0 lead and despite a scare eventually pulled away to take the game 4-2.

Oddly that does leave us top of the NFA Premier League with 25 odd games gone and when you consider we're top of NFA U21 and U17 Leagues it's an odd situation to be in.

I've come to the conclusion now that bad runs and good runs happen just like in real life, having a player or two in your team that can produce a match winning performance is likely to make those bad runs shorter. Having a mean defence will result in less frequent bad runs. It is a funny old game as you never really really know how things are going to work out.

So we're starting to near the end of the second season and you begin to realise just how clever SI are. I have a settled squad, young, and have already competed well in the Premier League. I'll just kick back for a month or two and maybe my starlets will flower and the world will be at our mercy. One problem, contracts, I can only lock five players to a contract. The rest have to opened up to a wage auction.

I have no doubt this close season we'll again see some desperate measures to get talent. In my opinion it's a short sighted panic option. In the last close season I did bid on a load of players but every manager in the Gameworld was bidding silly prices.

I did bag two, Arda on £33k a day (Wage Demand £24k) and Daikte on £2500 a day (Wage Demand £8k a day). £33k a day was a lot more than my previous record of £10k a day. I've got to look at this as I've one contract lock left and three potential players to use it on.

Arda is talented he's 22 and sometimes can on his own change a game I'd like to keep him but if I let him go to wage auction in the silly season some loon will bid £50k a day.

Honestly he's not worth £33k maybe £20k and the bottom line is I can't get him on that contract so really he has to go.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Moving on Up

Having secured wins against several top teams and a mini run of decent results sees us at a new record in the rankings and well inside the top 60.

Over the next few days there are a glut of FA games to get through I'd quite happily swap the position for league points.

Meanwhile I've continued with a mini clear out, Camara at 30 although a great DM was not going to be an appreciating asset so I decided the time had come for him to move on. I had Amaral as cover for Pablo as well as a glut of youngsters.

He can also play DC / LB but again I already have Senior cover for these. I was thinking he'd go for quite a large sun due to his stats, positions and to some teams his age could be a blessing (ideal captain?). A quick auction saw him go at just over 1/2 million.

So over the last few days I've managed to pull in just over a million in fee's and cut the wage bill by another £13k.

Press Release ''The Jakswans were sent reeling today with the news that both first choice strikers were sidelined. Jak Phillips, manager of the Jakswans remained upbeat and is expected to hand out a chance to Sene, who's been on prolific form at U17 level and Patrick, another young striker. It's understood that the Jakswans were lining up a big money move and with a busy couple of fixtures to come in the next twenty four hours this now can't come soon enough'....

It's funny how things turn out I had two fixtures for AI both needed to be played so I went through a few games deciding who was going to start up front. Sene despite having bags of potential isn't quite as solid as Patrick and Lens since signing has been largely unimpressive. So really thought it was certain to be Patrick / Sene.

Lens proved to be a the revelation, composed and selfless played an A1 game, the year that Patrick (18) has over Sene (17) I think proved decisive. So the two games were AFC Detroit who haven't impressed this season and Kak Consistently who have been in superb form coming off the back of eight straight wins one of which was a against Rafalution. Rafalution sport several top players not least Henry, nuff said.

So AFC Detroit first, their team were not match fit and eventually we started to open them up with a strike from Patrick in the 73rd minute. At the eighty minute mark I brought on Sene and he made it two in the 91st minute. Detriot grabbed a consultation in the 93rd. Final result 2-1.

Kak I knew were going to be a different proposition. They play four men up the middle with two wide, I thought I'd try to keep it tight and as they didn't have bags of pace up front played high line and offside. After 30 mins and with us lucky not to be behind from a string of chances I thought I'd try to change it and played much deeper.

We were riding our luck in the first half underlined by a missed penalty from Kak on 41mins. The second half was much better and in the 65th minute a ball in from Arda resulted in Lens strike taking us 1-0 up. Generally the second half was ours but Kak had at least one 1v1 with the keeper. Overall we were lucky to get the result but 1-0 here was a result and half!

Here is an odd one Rafalution has asked me all the time to play his game with him yet he didn't want to play when i offered today. I mean my two first choice strikers are out injured, on checking I found his squad of just 15 players also had three injuries, lol. Strength in depth, it's an old saying but true :)

I had an offer for Sousa come in late tonight (the servers are down again) and as I don't play him at all I think he'll end up going. I don't know what I'll do with all this money....

Anyway the servers are down again, SI are trying to nail just a few bugs and the game is almost ready to be released so this is understandable I guess.

Brings me on to thoughts when the game comes out or more importantly when the game comes out what will happen to the gameworlds. The last talk I heard was Summer so we're July ish area I think they would like a clean season prior to nailing the release, an extended period without any bugs / crashes and certainly this season isn't going to be the green one.

Si seemed to be focused on nailing these last bugs causing data lock and server failure so I assume the hardware it's running on is final. Therefore May is the target for a green season maybe.

The reason this is so important I think is that Gameworlds need to be run with minimal manpower from SI. Currently I'd estimate that there are Eight Gameworlds and with all this constant crashing there is no way they could start another twenty of them!

So assuming they get a green season in May (no major patch's needed & no crashes) we'll see a big surge in Gameworlds. Then these are going to need to settle June July and then come Mid July a release date settled on.

By the time the marketing department get going I suspect a September release with maybe a partial release to Beta testers come August.

Now then SI have cited several different types of gameworld will exist in terms of age therefore I can't imagine that any will be shut down. I also can't imagine anyone being given the option of picking their gameworld come release. Otherwise everyone below the rank of 100 is going to leave.

So there you go a little speculation from me September release and no gameworlds being cut.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Update v.081 Lag Hell

If know it's a beta and FM Live is a fantastic game but if there is one wish it's that they do any updates on a MONDAY so they can fix issues. The current problem is that the the servers stay up for a while lag like hell drop, over and over. It must be a memory leak of some description and probably an easy fix, I'm assuming should they release on a Monday we'd have a fix Tuesday.

Anyway whilst I limp through the slideshow of games, I've kind of now settled on a my strongest U17 line up for this season and have a few in the bag for next season.

U19 Level or U18 is fairly decent with Patrick and Sene up front and others making progress. With Villano and Evina and a couple more it's fairly settled on the left, the right has gaps. A few players I'd written off have started to progress. Confusing, I think I'll try and keep it tight, I see a lot of teams go totally for the shotgun approach and sign a 50/60 players.

Potential as I know ain't all that anyway, I've got a 15 Year Old that's got strength 19 so I don't need any learning to know that no one is going to be pushing this guy around. As I recall he's German as well so I'll hang on to that one, hehe.

Good case in point is playing against Midget & Albino United who now after some good fortune (long story) have some amazing young players. One Tetteh (servers down can't check name) is an amazing 16 Year Old. We played them over two legs and think managed to get some sort of result in the first leg.

I have a cultered DM playing at U17 that has a lot of potential and has improved a lot, I've also got a DM Christina, whos' got tackling 15 and is very strong. He can't much kick a ball though so not much good other than for breaking up play. The cultured DM against this class was out of his depth.

In the second leg I changed the DM to Christina result 4-1 to us.

Jemma went today, Chris Nash, Manager of showed a bit of intrest with a figure of £250k being banded about. I said I'd chuck him up four hour auction starting at that price and he went for nearly £700k. Now Jemma is a solid player strong, quick really he has no weakness but there again he has no strength. However if you want to keep it tight on the left wing then he'll be the man for job. In fact he's going to be quite a handful up front or as AMC so there you go, thought £700k was a great price for me and quite a highly ranked team came in for him so there you go.

Just as the servers went down (again) I was starting to talk about a 20 Year Old AMC / FC that at 20 showed a great deal of promise. I even put Wendall on the table as the servers went down, this 20 Year Old is a strong physical type that would suit my fast wingers / ball in to the box style. I don't know what style the other team plays but I've often thought that Wendall is a more of a play to feet type/ tricky customer type.

Another youngster starting to impress is a left wing back 16 Year Old Villano, he was out on loan until recently and he took a while to get back into a rhythm the last few games he's been great.

The NFA Premier League games today were against Vanquishers and Diakite, back from loan and replacing Camara produced a display that won us the game. 1-0 the result, his goal from a coner but his defensive abilites are very reassuring. With 20 points from 10 games I'm starting to relax a little on the relegation front.

Then we faced off against AI controlled Norks who've I've not beaten as I recall. At £2.5k a day at current trasnfer rates I would suggest a figure of around £4million for Diakite. You have to take wages into account. Ohhh yes, we grabbed a messy goal and it could have gone either way until Montero made his 60 minute appearance and at 16 he calmed things down, going to be a superstar Montero.

I was starting to feel confident Shenanigans challenged me to a game and I accpeted. Montero started we kept it tight and won 1-0 away from home. Diakite was amazing and got a 7.5 man of the match award, this, for a defender, not scoring a goal. This was in the UEFA Cup and could see us in with a shout of qualifiying for the next phase.

Cetout, a young 21 Year Old DC, which is not seeing much action and Ogbanna, big strong capable striker went as well today both sub £50,000. Both will do a good job at their new clubs and I didn't make a big pitch of them to sell so feel comfortable with the price, the teams they went to and myself.

If Cetout was 20 I'd have kept him but he has far too many DC's in front of him.

After Camara lost his place as DC I'd thought I'd give him a run at DM he's a free kick / long shot specialist and everything else about him suggests he'd be A1 in this position. I was almost hoping it wouldn't work out but the sod blasted a goal in from 25 Yds to give me a bit of a selection headache.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

FM Live v.081 – Delightful

Well this update has produced a lot of controversy. When I was introduced to a game you had open access to all tactics. Now you can’t do much without learning about a tactic, e.g. you can’t man mark unless you’ve learnt how to do that.

The other big change is to injuries they are now realistic and now not having a squad is going to be a problem.

Tactically I tend to just play around with defensive line and zonal / man marking, maybe a few other things but not much else. These basic things are fairly quick to learn and a few hours later I remained unaffected by the change.

I did consider downloading some tactics from the internet and importing into FM Live but thought that was a bit cheap so didn’t. Now you can’t do this either without a lot of research.

Having started the game with a squad strategy e.g. cover for every position from around 15 players, this backed up with extensive youth policy then the injury issue is a welcome change. Although it resulted in my best player Arda getting sidelined for a day.

This is great though as I’ve a left winger who’s been bouncing at U21 and he’ll now have a chance at a higher level. It’s logical with more injuries for more of the players from the database to be used, and I would assume logical that the average price of a player will now fall…

A point of debate is if the amount of injuries is realistic, personally I’ve three out from a total of 50 (mainly less than one day). This actually seems, to me at least, about right.

Naturally those with small squads are going ballistic, toys out of the pram, ‘I’m not playing anymore and taking my ball home’ quite common routines!

Meanwhile Match Engine v674 was also released.
- Tweaked choice of default opponent further to make wide midfielders take more responsible against narrow formations.

How simply delightful! I have always struggled against teams with narrow formations, I kind of had a way of countering this by playing two DM’s and high defensive line but should the opposition have quick strikers I’d be done for.

I knew there was something wrong and couldn’t put my finger on it. I didn’t want to seem like a moaner but thought that this narrow tactic was unrealistic and overpowered.

In the real world you’d be slapped about silly playing a narrow formation by wingers and whilst it doesn’t go that far it does put us on a more level playing field.

A lot of people haven’t twigged to this change yet and may see a change of fortunes. If you have downloaded tactics from Internet, have a small squad and play a narrow formation this was an update from hell.

Friday, 11 April 2008

The Twilight Zone

Vanquishers have now started their campaign and with a bang. Despite only playing three games they've opened up with two wins and a draw.

In saying that I felt that we could get a result against them and I've now got in to the routine of playing an important game if we won the last one. Hopefully I shouldn't get sucked too deep into a bad run then.

Anyway their manager explained that he put his good form down to finding tactics that suited his players. After 20mins they'd had a good few chances and decided to juggle things a little. (Won't say what I did you never know who'll be reading :) ). Saw an improvement immediately. Just before half time Wendall picked up an injury so at the start of the second half it was Sene's league debut.

Five minutes in and Sene almost latches on to a ball in the box. Charlie, Vanquishers manager quips 'Wendall would've got to that!' It's a good job I was watching closely cos I spotted Sene's role in our goal.

Arda puts a ball in from the left,, 6'4" Sene goes to attack the ball and instead of going for glory produces a delightful flick to Derds who's in acres of space for an easy slot home.

In saying that Vanquishers had chances throughout the game and managed to grab a goal back. Sadly Camara made a mistake at the back to gift it to them. I was thinking who was going to get dropped on Daikte's return and that mistake might just seal the deal.

Then it's time for the twilight zone....

Inter Retirement I wouldn't call them rivals we'd have so many games. It's a Everton - Liverpool rivalry not a Man Utd - Liverpool one if you get my drift. Top bloke their manager, Nick Megarity. In our meetings at U17 I'd say we have the upper hand, U21 slightly in my favour and he normally beats me with ease at senior level.

The wasn't an FA game so the result doesn't matter really but a 3-0 win away from home, that was odd.

Then I play a team and go 5-0 up in 20 minutes. Their manager then says 'is this your first team?' I check the comp to make sure it's not a reserve league or something. Yes I reply only to be told that his team has Three Senior squads to act 'as cover' and also still has a youth set-up..... Thought I was being over the top with 18 Senior players :)

Kids, getting kids is now proving a little tricky as some managers move into this area of the game. Again it gets competitive for high potential players. The same strat as I've used works here as well. Pay £5,000k a day for a banker or take 25 long shots. Of those long shots maybe one or two will turn into great players, another ten will make it and you'll have to let the remainder go.

The thing is you'll know about the ones that are not going to make it after a season so you can then try another fifteen producing one more great players and around five that'll make it... Well you do the math.

One of these long shots of mine has an interesting story, Sam Deering was as I recall my first U17 player, he had one trick he was quick. I played him in the first team in the early days but last season he never improved.

I nearly let him go last season but thought at £200 I'd give him one more year. Around two days ago I started to notice him more and now we're seeing a slow improvement in his stats. I know think Sam has a good chance of making it. He's unlikely to turn into a big money player but he's a tricky little winger and if he continues then he'll certainly get one more year from me. FM Live at it's best. Hundreds of little stories.

Sene continues to impress at Senior Level, I have now dropped Wendall and Derds as starting U21 strikers, their first team now. Patrick (120k) and Lens (Free Agent) now the two first choice U21 strikers. These are actually better than Wendall and Derds which I can't quite actually take in yet.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

So many strikers

With Ely and Arda what I really need is a good header of the ball and someone who doesn't miss those scraps for the ball in the box. Boya is ideal for this role, strong and doesn't miss often but he's out on loan, a few hours later the question came in how much?

Budal again isn't going to pushed around has a burst of pace and knows where the goal is, out on loan with a £1m price tag being floated about.

Patrick is ok at 18 he get a talent but too soon, Lens isn't quite cutting it... Sene his time approaches.

The End of the Bad Run

Guess what the servers are down again. Quite annoying as with a job, family and the usual package that goes with it I don't normally get much time. I do leave the game on in work though.

It seems I may have pinned the dire run of form down and it was kids that did it. If your going to do kids and really go for them properly I think it's a shotgun approach that'll work best. It's somewhat expensive, but I'm willing to sacrifice pain today for some release tomorrow.

Although it seems a potential is high if ability doesn't improve after a Season and a half then really it's my thinking it's not going to happen. A striker with finishing of five really needs to get a move on. Anyway a few hadn't improved and I thought I'd move on to some new recruits.

Out went a few one on a £600 wage (high for a sixteen year old) and I trialled a few more. It was only on reading the forums that another manager had released a few 30+ year olds and experienced a serious dip in form did the penny drop. That's pretty much all I can think that would have resulted in the terrible run.

The really strange thing is that the U21's went on to win something like 19 out of 20 games whilst the seniors lost 19 out of 20 games....Bizarre.

The League Season continues in the UFFA qualifies I go down 5-0 to a team that I can't pronounce who plays two AMC's and two strikers. Weird. Mind he had one superstar who was 33, few months he won't be a superstar:)

Bliss FC at home I lost 2-1 if you recall and actually did control much of that game and certainly deserved a draw, the return on their patch was a simliar affair at one point I was something like 18 shots to 5, deserved a win really but I'd take a draw, 0-0 in the end, they missed a penalty. Ninja Pirates was up next and their Manager was in the middle of a horrible run.. Another Arda special topped a convincing 3-1 performance which now leaves us with 13 points from seven games a LONG way from relegation form but still it's only seven games.

If I could just grab a really good AMC I think we'd be certain of premiership status next time out. Just as I was about to post this a match challenge came in from Dundee Rio, now this outfit is like a superstar roll call, solid throughout. I have played Dundee Rio numerous times and tried so many different tactics I have lost count. We've had a few draws but never came close to beating them. I have decided you can fluff about with tactics all day but it's eleven v eleven and either their good enough or their not.

For forty five minutes you'd swear we were the team chasing the title world class names looked like League One players as we pounded away, we grabbed a goal before the break to take us 1-0 up. I guess I should expect this from a young side but gradually Dundee started to build momentum and we were fading. The last ten minutes were very touch and go. With a few minutes to go one his players broke clean through one on one with the keeper only for Moya our goalie to snatch it off him. I started to think this could be our day. We held on for the best three points of my FM Live career thus far.

Budal is out on loan again it's not that he does much wrong just he just never turns it on for us. I've really got to make a decision on his return and have already banded about a £1million plus fee. Wendall and Derds are now starting strikers. They must have played close to 300 games together, one is small and tricky the other tall and charges through a game, it's a classic partnership which has carved many a U21 defence apart. Derds with his little burst of burst it counts for a lot in goalmouth scrambles.

Sousa has started to catch my attention a little as AMC he's started to boss games now and the odd thunderous strike for a goal certainly wins my admiration:) There is so much to do in FM Live, I've noticed a few players whinging about how it's unfair they started late and they have no chance of competing. It would help a lot if SI would clarify the plans for Gameworlds as I doubt they'll end them when the game is released. If your starting out I'd recommend keeping things tight picking the comps you enter and putting some of your funds into a youth pro gramme. For around £10k a day you can form a nice little U17 squad and enjoy the rewards later. Ohhh and PICK YOUR GAMES CAREFULLY.

Many of my U17's will be 18 next term so I've already started to consider who's' going / staying and trialling the odd 15/16 year old with an eye on next season. I do recall picking up my first batch of U17's and it's surprised me how some have turned out. Sene was just a random click in the distant past and only impressed a tiny bit at first. Villano another rising star pretty much mistimed every tackle and was a mess. Montero was like a lunatic. Meanwhile Deering a pacey winger has just stayed as he was at 17, pacey and can't quite kick a ball:) Evina a French winger plays a nice game but isn't coming on at all. I can see where Mitz gets into the youth thing, you almost don't care about the seniors :)

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Servers down again

Once again the servers go down so thought I'd pen another update. With well over a million in the bank and an easy £60k surplus a day I'm still bringing in youngsters. An eighteen year old Patrick who's fairly quick, can finish and can head the ball as well, a £130,000 fee to Salhouse Rovers for him. Now by the time you read this I suspect that the Lens signing will be in the bag. Picked up this guy on trial who had scored in nearly every game he'd played (he had only played a handful of games), I stuck him on for a half of U21 game and it was pretty scary. A few sub appereances later I had cooled to the idea, with his trial ending I thought I'd start with him for an U21 game.

Game starts and Derds shoots, the ball hits the keeper and Lens is on hand to put away an open goal, I'm still not convinced. After something like 33 minutes the ball falls to him outside the box I look on with interest, he lets one go that could have broken the back of the net to see us go two nil up. Hopefully nobody is paying attention as I pull him off. It could be a flash in the pan I've got an 18 Year Old that was a sensation at 17 but can't quite seem to cut it now. This guy is 21 so less time for him, but a couple of grand a day is nothing so I take a punt on him.

At U21 there are a few teams that can beat us but not too many, it's possibly a team that could rank in the top 300 as is, I don't tend to bother with tactics, the squad just seems good enough to cope with what is currently thrown at it. Meanwhile the dire run of senior form has continued...

I think we were into our 12th game without a win when we played a 300+ rank team at home who we'd just lost to away. We cruised to a 1-0 lead then seemed to falter. Now I make no secret of the fact that Arda has been disappointing in the week I've had him, however his acceleration already has improved so we start to see a spurt from him now and again. In this game he breaks from the halfway line I have to say he rarely makes a mistake and faces off against a full back on the corner of the box, he slips it onto his right foot and lets fly with a shot that is so fast it's left me staring at the screen open mouthed. Maybe I won't sell him after all...

A few games on and the bad run seems to deepen, dreadful defending all round see's Gado getting dropped along with Maltriz. Ebondo and Felipe (a spot buy last night) move in. Felipe is a curiosity he's very safe I've noticed in U21 games, gets the challenge in and yeah, does what a defender should do, maybe it'll all go horribly wrong cos he doesn't play how his stats say he'll play. My 'bargain of the century' Daikite is out on loan until Saturday and already is steadily scoring 7+ ratings. I'm sure I read that SI changed ratings so that they would not depend on being on the winning side so much and as a result getting 7+ as a defender is pretty amazing.

The low point came with us going 4-1 down in a match which we deserved to lose but not 4-1 for the first time I clicked abandon as I didn't want to waste time watching what was becoming a horror show. In the middle of this run came a NFA Premier League game against bliss which we lost 2-1.

However, how odd is this, CUJimmy was at the end of the run, and currently league leaders! I was at the point that I just wanted to get a win and knew it had to come soon so just wanted to get the games going. I expect to struggle against relegation so I expect to lose to CUJimmy, result 3-1 win. Grrr, stupid game, Wendall when he wants to perform can and this was one of those games. We go away to Ninja Pirates and Arda has another of his moments to help us secure a 3-2 win.

As things stand then despite a disastrous run we're five games in and are on course to avoid the drop. I don't really know why I'm sweating over it as the money you get is not that much. I don't know if it does but being a Premiership team should do wonders for Rep.

Chris Nash ever a fan of Leanrdo Lima found that his attraction to him didn't quite stretch that far and a Million Pounds later saw him headed from there. Great for me as I bagged the 35% sell on fee. Just noticed that my prize money is being rolled to me daily so this combined with media money has me with almost a £100k surplus and nearly £2million in cash in the bank. When I have another bad run I shall sit and stare at that to console me:)

Was chatting the market place when a few 16 Year Olds got pointed out to me.. Ouch my kids are right duffers in comparison. Still hopefully got enough good in them somewhere to give me a good team in a few months time.

Montero at Matalan is bouncing along, maybe playing alongside great players helps? Matalan have quite a collection of superstars.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Big Money

Have once again flirted with a big money move, this time it was Nani....

In the meantime or the close season I've managed to bag a couple of cracking kids. Bruno Pinatares (from now on called Bruno cos I can't be arsed to type that agiain) an 18 Year Old replacement for Petrov, and doing a better job!

A cracking prospect in Paul Rogers, right back, a 19 Year Old and a £5k capture from Arsenal Rock FC. Then was a player who I had shortlisted for a long time Malonga (a winger in the Ely mould) I missed out on his Wage Auction and saw him being offered on a free on £1. As fast as my mouse could carry me I clicked and bagged him on a two year contract.

Then a young Calum fella manager of Midget And Albino United touted Alemão an interesting 19 Year Old AMC. That was a game and half....

I made an offer of £200k only for it to be met with incredibility. I was told £250k would seal the deal, fine I thought so I slapped £250k on the table only to be told that £300k would be much more attractive. I then made a £300k offer and then was told that really £400k was the price..... grrrr.

Still hell of nice bloke through it all and truthfully his player was quite possibly worth the £400k I think he went for more than that in the end, but speculating on kids is fine but that was more than speculation at that price.

Meanwhile the League Season has now started and FC Barcelona challenged me to a game on their turf. They had already bagged a 2-2 with Dundee Rio away so I thought what the heck and went for it.

Now I'm bit of a git when it comes to checking teams for league games and I noticed we had a six wins for six games against them. So I thought what the heck and clicked accept.

What followed was a grueling ninety minutes with us just grabbing the one goal from Arda. It was one of those games where there were few chances and clearly just the one goal should it come would seal the game. The following night I faced Dundee Rio and deserved to be slapped about for trying to play offside again and went down 3-1 at home.

Oddly I'm now firmly in the top 100 rankings despite being on a Senior run that has something like one win in twelve? Don't know why guess profile of the players helps. Arda has disappointed me my biggest wage prior to his arrival was £10k and I look at him and don't see three times the player. In saying that I do like to play with traditional wingers and he's more of midfielder if that makes sense. I've still got a massive surplus of cash per day and I keep an eye for another big name but their either asking stupid money or they've got the player by getting him on a stupid wage.

Some youngsters have been released and I've moved some more in. I've got two that are destined for greatness I'm sure :) Montero is an AMC who pretty much runs around like a headless chicken when we've not got the ball and then changes into the model of composure when he gets it. I've loaned him out for some first team experience to a big outfit and he's already bagged two goals in five outings for them.

Sene is a 17 Year Old that should he continue to improve this season has to feature in the first team. He can play on the wing and up front and wherever he plays he's just A1. Last season he was sometimes great and sometimes not this time out his performance is a banker. Wendell seems to go through fits and starts but now he flirts with greatness so again he has to feature. Derds (Derdiyok as I recall, servers down atm) has low potential ability but frankly at 21 he's pretty much already there. The one area that he's vastly improved is in acceleration. If he improves just a few percent then he'll go from great to brilliant.

I've also strengthened at U19 level so next month when Tarik & Derds move up we can continue with the stream of players and still be a threat. I do still lack a real depth of classy Youth in the full back positions though.

Until the transfer market calms I think I'll just continue the youth policy, I can spend £60k a day on kids so why not.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Transfer Dealings

Lima went for £500k and Dano followed for the same money both good value on both sides for that I think. Finally got paid my NFA money from last season. I now have a very healthy cash balance.

The search to improve never ends and I did start talking about Sergio Ramos and a big money move but the bank vetoed with a balance forecast. I've got a few options open....

I could say to myself we'll cope with what we've got and battle against relegation for this season and sit back on my money. Good results against Matalan and Dundee Rio have made me think that we're strong enough to avoid the drop.

Budal returns Saturday and he's only made a handful of appearances for me as he's had long loan spells out and scored over .5 goals a day so I'm going to give him a run.

I've chilled to the idea of Ramos, some of the kids I'm getting are superb value. I've got SEVEN players out on loans. Now here is an odd thing a few Managers have asked me 'why did you loan out your star young striker / defender?'

I think some Managers are missing the entire point of the Youth system. It has one function to groom players for the first team, the rank or competition wins are MINOR honours at best. Holding on to a player and denying him the chance to play some first team action is going to be great for the player. Doesn't matter really what effect it has on the performance in youth comps.

I've had a good punt around and strongly suspect that you can easily get sucked in to trying to buy short term success. I'm going to sit on my money I've got a healthy squad, bank balance and surplus per day. Ranked Top 10 in youth, Top 100 at Senior Level, Premier League, a squad with strength in depth that is generally young and going to get better.

That's it from here on in it's young players have a look at them they don't cut it dump the contract. The money is there to do it. I've put bids in on 'big names' and you can get those players but you're basically done then.

Even if we get relegated I can afford to continue with this strat.

Going to try and do a pre-season preview of NFA Premier League next.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Just another Update

Boya Boya BOOOYYYYAAA when he gets the ball he scores a goal BOOOYYYYAAA

Cost per day £2.5 a day, lol. I tried to sell him as Wendell is scoring goals for fun in the U21's so I thought I'd give him a run in the first team. Most interest I got was 'I want someone I've heard of.' Good grief he's £2.5k a day.

However now I've gone and done it. Actually I almost did go over the top. I've been wanting a more dynamic player on the left wing for some time and I thought the time had come to secure a big name.

Well the silly season is in full swing with prices on players (it's already started to cool) and I thought I'd try to grab a U21 High Profile player.

Turan Arda name came up and whilst I do like a bit of pace in that position the skills were fairly plain to see. The few clubs that had come in were well respected names and a pretty good judge and I did watch a few highlights and decided it was time cough up the cash.

Now bear in mind this is against a backdrop of players with any sort of rep going for £60k easy and even over £90k is not unheard of. This players wage demand was £18k.

I had managed to talk myself out of anything beyond double the wage demand but just nudged it up as much as I dare. £33k. I knew when I did it this was too much but it was only about £5k - £8k too much. At 21 he was always going to be a appreciating asset anyway so there you go.

Stuck him on for an U21 game and put him in AMC role 1st minute slotted an inch perfect through ball for Wendell. Since he's be doing well but I fancy the team may need juggling. A Manager came in for Rios and plonked £200k on the table, I said I'd accept £300k, he walked.

I put Rios on transfer and the realised how much he was missed. He's a very safe player (has a special move 'Plays short Simple Pass's'), quite mature at 26, strong, fairly quick and rarely does anything wrong. Really for a DM this is perfect, Pablo is a bit more dynamic and really needs to play further forward.

Prior to the start of the reason I think I'll try getting Pablo, Rios, Ely and Arda into the team. I'm playing a slightly odd; flat back four, DM, MC with two wingers. I call it 'upside down Christmas Tree'. :)

I think without serious pace Arda is wasted on the wing so not his ideal position but I think I'll pop him into the MC role. Ely is strong with both feet so and easy switch to the left side for him and Pablo can play on the right.

We've got the Jakswans Championship games to get through, all these teams are top 250 so some tough games. After a few of those we should know.

Good: It's confirmed that we are now a NFA Premiership club.
Bad: had young DM Petrov pinched off me in a wage auction (I bid £3k and the guy took him at something like £7k, now he's quite a decent player only 20 and a good prospect, but honestly for £7k you can grab a youngster who's on the borders of being sensational.

Finally isn't it odd how perceptions change... I had been fiddling with my tactics (Arda's best position is left wing yet he's right footed, switch wings and he's great) and I thought gah I can't get the right. Yet I looked back at my results and actually it's not too bad. Playing offside trap against Dundee was a bad mistake, I then drew 1-1 away from home with them.

I have since I joined this beta never settled on two strikers and the Dundee manager said to me 'look get a striker who's fast, can jump and can finish'. Derd's and Wendell have been doing wonders at U21 and I though right, that's it stick with them. The thing is with Youth it's not about results but development so I don't continually bugger around with strikers so over the next few days it's Wendell and Derds.