Season One. 2017-18. Carluke Rovers FC. Scottish Division Thirteen.
Don’t pressure them. Don’t pressure them. Don’t pressure them. Welcome lads I trust you all had a great holiday? Good, good. Listen, I’ll keep this brief but the press reckon we’re good for a top-half finish this year and with a bit of hard work I agree with them. No pressure. I look around the room and see lots of faces turning as red as the upholstered bar lounge we’re sat in. Fuck that! We’re better than that boss! Get a grip mate! I scan the room to see who that last one was from. I clock a wee ratty looking dude and mentally mark his card. Woah boys – if you think you are good enough then lets go for promotion then. A huge cheer goes up. Let’s get the beers in. I politely decline the offer and get McGinty’s ear to find out more about Roland Rat. Christie is his name. First at the bar too. I check my watch, 10.36am Saturday morning. We’ve got our work cut out.
Short of bussing them in, could we get any more here for trial? Martin McGinty smiled at his own joke but I was too busy watching the training session. Right, tell the chairman we’re getting a game against our Under 21s tonight. We’ll just split this lot into two teams and then I’ll decide who can stay and who can go.
I’m not happy about this wage bill! Mr Chairman, we’re not paying any wages to players only appearance fees. You are over our wage budget. But we’re not paying any wag- oh forget it. I’ll deal with it.
We’re spending more than we’re bringing in and it is becoming a bone of contention between me and Mr Black. But I have an idea. Big John, How are you doing? Still at the Celtic? I’ve known JK since rooming with him for the Scotland unders. A gentleman who should be good for helping out an old friend. A visit to Loch Park from Celtic Under 21s is arranged with the promise of more through the season. It doesn’t matter if its the Ne’er’s Day clash or a kick around in the park, the Old Firm will get thousands through the door anywhere in the world. That means a huge boost to Carluke Rovers’ bank balance. I wasn’t, however, expecting £34million worth of talent rocking up. Cheers JK.
The new structure sees all the cups rolled into one big national tournament – the Scottish Cup. And we’re in round 1 with fellow Division 13 team Lochee Harp. Its our first competitive match – recruitment has gone well, pre-season has gone well and this game. Aww get tae –
What a bollocking I gave them. Totally unacceptable. I expect a better performance in our next match. Well they listened and we won. Then we won again. And again. We couldn’t stop winning but nor did Dunipace. Halfway through the season and Rovers are top of the league having lost just once, drawn none and won the rest. Yet we’re only 2 points clear of Dunipace in 2nd! Ridiculous state of affairs. We’re getting goals from everywhere but Andrew Sibbald up front has been on fire. 25 goals in 21 games. 1 goal every 69minutes! With Paul Carrick our creative foil in midfield laying them on a plate for him. If they both keep this up we’ll be unstoppable. Nothing can go wrong.
January Transfer Window
Thanks for everything boss. I say nothing. I really appreciate you giving me the platform here. Silence. Er, I’ll be off then. And you can take that Judas, Carrick, with you! I scream silently at the door as it closes. The transfer window closes and with it go my two best attacking threats, Sibbald and Carrick. A semi-professional team. Players on non-contracts. Ripe for the plucking. I have never felt stress like it. Every day for a month. Oh look Team X have offered a deal to Simpson. Fuck I can’t lose my goalie – here have a new contract. Day 2, Team Y have offered a contract to Marshall. Great my goal machine on the left wing. Here have a new contract. Day 3 Hi more teams in for Simpson – but he’s just signed a new contract. Oh. Here’s another one. All month. Contract offered? Here’s a new one from us. All meaningless. But to lose those two and to get nothing in return – it’s a kick to the crotch and they’ve hit both of them.
Boys this is Kieran, he’s going to be pushing you boys for a Central Defence spot. All season we’ve been susceptible through the centre. We’re playing a high line but often the goals we concede are long balls over the top of the CBs. Local boy Robertson has been decent but getting a settled partner has been difficult. The problem we have is Murray is fast but small so he gets bullied by the big strikers and he’s hardly an asset at corners. Stewart is tall, good in the air but slow so he gets tanned if we’re up against nippy strikers getting onto long balls. But Allison – well he’s fast(ish) and he’s 6’2″ – best of both worlds. Integration will be hard. We might need to take the hit for a few games but so be it. Its all about the long term vision. We can see promotion on the horizon. We can almost smell it but yet it’s still so far away.
Seeing it through
There’s nothing wrong with our tactics and our style of play. I am not saying that there is. The issue I am trying to address is game management. How many times have we been up and cruising in a game this year only to lose a goal or two and then its panic stations or worse we’re having to go gung ho at the other end just to save the draw or get the win? I’ve lost count. No more. We’re not changing formation just the shape, a couple of roles and our overall mentality. I’ll give you an example lads. We’re 2 nil up, 20minutes to go. We switch from our high press to this and take any potential sting out the game. No earlier than 70minutes and we must have 2 goal cushion otherwise its too much pressure. They finally understand and I begin to feel a bit more comfortable about our chances of winning this league.
And in the End
It is true that success can be measured in many ways but nothing beats a league table to judge that cold, hard tangible success. Objectivity over subjectivity baby! We’ve won this league with plenty o’ tit tae spare. C’mon the Rovers! I’m on the table now giving this not-so eloquent speech but the boys don’t care most are blazing and those who aren’t are asleep under the tables. As Awards Ceremonies go – you can’t beat the End of Season hot buffet in the social club. A wonderful campaign saw us blow away our closest rivals. There were plenty of highlights and some of the boys really deserved their awards tonight. Burr was the surprise hit of the season, Marshall was excellent but I am most pleased for the two Carluke boys – Chalmers and Hunter – our captains. I raise my beer to the pair – stood cuddling the league trophy for a souvenir picture seemingly unaware they are about to be photo-bombed by a very nude Martin McGinty. We’re going to be rough in the morning.
Carluke Rovers F.C. End of Season Awards 2017/18
Sandy Black: As proud Chairman of this truly community-focused club, it gives me great pleasure to stand here tonight and celebrate the best achievements from what has been a very successful season. Without further ado, let me announce this year’s winners….
Burr – Mezzala 29 appearances; Contributes 21 goals. Fans PotY; Young PotY; Signing of the Year.
Marshall WL 33 appearances; Contributes 29 goals
This is obviously a work of fiction, created in a fictional landscape based upon Football Manager 2018 game. I play using a reconstructed Scottish Leagues database created by FM Samo. Ask him for it via twitter or join us on FM Slack.
Follow me on Twitter for more FM related nonsense – @tommysboy007