Damn you McGinty! I’ll never catch this train! How did I let him convince me to have a pint in the Black Bull? Oh fucks sake, I forgot how long Station Road actually is. Thank bejeesus its down hill. I’m going to make it it. Woof! Fuck! Ooft! Ya basta! Oh great there it goes. On my knees in the soaking wet car park of Carluke Rail Station I watch the 11.34 roll slowly away. Ignoring the cars trying to weave around me and the sniggers from two wee nuggets smoking behind the fence, I imagine myself arriving in Bury, relaxed about the prospect of working with professionals surrounded by excellent facilities, ready to sign my contract, ready to get back to the big time. Haw, ma dug thinks ure a wallaper. Look at yersel, ya stupit prick! Sage advice, young man, sage advice.
Season 2. Carluke Rovers. 2018/19 Scottish Division Twelve.
Thinking back to the end of last season and how promotion had come at a canter in the end. I was in a much better place than a car park puddle. The euphoria of the campaign lasted through the summer break. The whole town would stop me in the street and congratulate the team on the league win. Carluke was buzzing and so was I.
I knew our recruitment last year was solid enough. We’d deliberately brought in players good enough to play at a much higher level than Division 13. I was confident for a promotion push again this year and this time I wasn’t shy about telling the guys. Learnt my lesson from last year and the jump in squad happiness was my reward.
Nevertheless some work was still needed – I am paid to work here after all! When I took over last year, I kept many of the Carluke boys. Indeed some were first team regulars like Robertson, Hunter and Captain Chalmers. All three contributed. The rest I kept as squad players and noone let me down when called upon. We had no youth team so the Under 21s fixtures meant fitness was never a problem. This year was going to be different though which meant I had to be ruthless and cut some deadwood. McGinty call some of the boys in to the office tomorrow. Start with John Christie. Revenge is a dish best served cold, Rat Boy.
The first rule about recruitment is to treat it like shopping for Christmas Gifts. Before you step out of the house, you have got to know what you need to buy or before you know it, you’re scrambling around the M&S Lingerie department, up to your neck in thongs, pure beamer on you, looking like a deviant. Well this year was no different. Our January recruit centre half Allison left me a voicemail to say he’d not be back. Something about joining a christian rock group. Easy come, easy go Marty boy! Give me a run down of what we have left in the squad.
Scouting/ Recruitment / FM Interface
Okay Martin. Here’s what you need to do. Get your crayons out and adjust your attributes scale. Last year 6 was the average but that’s no good now. We’ve moved up a league so move that base to 8. Use your grey for everything below 8. I know I’ll not be able to read it – that’s the point. But your white decents will shine, your purple goods will pop and your excellent greens will dazzle!
So we’re looking at a new Centre Back. If I am honest, I’d be happier if we upgrade Robertson too. Our game relies on pushing the defensive line up really high and pressing the opposition. At this level our guys’ attributes are better physically and technically so we can force the issue. However we are vulnerable to big punt through the centre especially if we’re against a nippy striker. It happened too much last year so let’s try to fix it with tall and fast CBs.
We lost goals when Sibbald left last January but I am happy to promote Higgins to first team striker. His speed is so dangerous at this level it makes up for relatively average finishing. We are however light in depth and competition so backup needed.
Central midfield is my last concern. Burr was PoTY but I don’t see him as ideal for the important Mezzala role. A bit more squad depth is required here too so I believe a couple of recruits would give us a bit more options here.
Youth Intake – Head of Youth Development /U21s manager
Marts – what’s wrong with those wee plooky bastards? Why they still here? Normally when we’re up the Moor for training we leave a bag of balls out for the kids while the lads get kitted up. You lose a few here and there but it’s worth it to see their enthusiasm for football before it gets sucked out by miserable life experience. That’s our youth intake boss. Our what? They’re too old for the Under 15s so you get to choose who stays and plays with the Under 21s. I turn away from the eager faces – the adoring looks too much to bear. McGinty. Yes gaffer? I’m not dealing with these wee dicks. I’m getting someone in. I look back as one of them picks his nose, examines it then flicks it onto the back of his unsuspecting team mate. Someone professional.
Scottish Cup / Finances
Yes Mr Chairman. I understand. It won’t happen again. Last year we went out in the first round and spent the rest of the season trying to get money in via glamour friendlies. Mr Black wants an improvement. I am happy to promise that – we start in round 2 this year! Stick to the business world sir! We could do with a cup run though. I text Big John to see if we could play at Celtic Park during the summer but he didn’t answer. The draw has not been kind to us though. We’ve got Division 2 side Edinburgh City and its away. Still if we can pull off an upset there the draw might be kinder and give us away trip to the Old Firm.
English League Two Comes Calling
I must admit we’d be playing well. The league win last year was one thing, our cup run another but I thought I was still way under the radar. Not one single journalist has called to ask about what happened in Leeds in the time since I’d been back in Carluke. I know today’s paper is tomorrow’s chip poke, people forget and all that but the rags still love dredging up a scandal. When the phone rang and the dialling code was Manchester, I thought this was it coming back. Hello? Yes, it is. Bury Football Club? Yes, yes, mhmm. Of course, I’d be delighted to. Skype? Eh. Sure I can arrange that. 3pm this afternoon. Happy to. Thanks very much. An interview with Bury FC this afternoon! Very interesting indeed. Hope my Dad’s paid his broadband bill!
We’re delighted you decided to stay with us Stuart. Yes. I couldn’t leave Carluke Rovers now. But I think now would be a good time to talk about plans don’t you, Mr Chairman.
What an idiot. Everytime I ask for upgrades to training facilities he sends me packing. The cup run gave us £200k in the bank. He’s knocked back my request for better youth facilities in the past to concentrate on the first team. So when I ask about training facilities? Oh its another Do One! I’m only asking if we can stop training on a public field and start using the Leisure Centre furchristsakes!
Keeping the run going – Using Tactical briefing for morale
That defeat against EK Thistle still claws at my throat. Every game now is all about runs. Longest run of games won, longest run unbeaten, longest run without conceding Can you keep this run going? And I have to stop myself from screaming OF COURSE WE FUCKING CAN! WE’RE INVINCIBLE! Because we are not invincible nor can we claim to be because of that shitey wee defeat 3 games into the season. Last year, Cambuslang won 28 games – that’s what I want to beat.
Martin the key to a good run is to defeat complacency. That’s why I bother to turn up at each and every Tactical Briefing we have. I say the same thing – Lads, 4-1-4-1 dm this game because it suits our strengths. Green for go thumbs up. Control because we’re favourites. More green thumbs up. Very Fluid blah. Creative freedom blah! Clean sweep of thumbs up. I hand it back to you Marty boy – no reaction. Ha! End of meeting. Come match day we’ve got one happy camp.
And in the End
The league was done too early. Far, far too early for me and it cost us the league records. Sure we were recognised in the league team of the year but I want it all dammit.
Carluke Rovers F.C. End of Season Awards 2018/19
Sandy Black: Good evening ladies. Good evening gentlemen. Good evening to you all. As Chairman of this wonderful club it gives me great pleasure to stand before you following another season of success. Without further hooha, let me announce this year’s winners….
Craig Marshall – PoTY, 38 Apps, Contributed 28 Goals
Anthony Higgins – 33 Apps, Contributed 30 Goals
Graeme Hunter – Local Lad Heart of the Midfield, Criminally overlooked
Steven Simpson – Saviour SK. 36 Apps, 21 Clean Sheets
Last but not least – these two made their 1st Team Debuts – Ones to Watch
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