FM18: ROAD TO REDEMPTION Ep.IV

End of Season 2. Carluke Rovers. 2018/19 Scottish Division Twelve.

Read Part One | Part Two | Part Three

This is my least favourite time of the year, Marty. Do you know why? It’s too quiet. Far, far, far, far too quiet. Everyone’s left me! Except you! We’re in Tabs and it seems we’re the only ones drinking today. The barmaid has left a bottle of Smirnoff on the table complaining she’d taps to replace and that nobody’s usually in before noon. The boys are only on holiday, boss. The new season will start soon and they’ll all be back then.

That gap between ending the season and starting the new one seems like it goes on forever. I could take a holiday too but truth is that for all my complaining it is truly fertile ground for a football manager at the lower level. The rush of the games have subsided and you are left alone with your thoughts and plans. And still at your fingertips is the SFA stats database for this season gone. They close it every year and start afresh – budget cuts apparently – so if I don’t use it now then come pre-season it will all be gone and I have to rely on reading my own handwritten notes and McGinty’s dodgy memory.

I wait until Martin’s passed out with his sambuca still balanced on his thigh but his slumbering grip loosening all the time. I hope it tips crotch side not floor side as I get my notepad and new laptop – present from Mr Chairman who thinks that’s us qualified as having Data Analysis facilities. While the compaq heats up, I flip the notebook open to the last pages and find what I am looking for in the top left corner.

Two sets of stats – one for my playmaker and one for my midfield destroyer. At this point I’m not looking to replace either Burr or Hunter but both are wanted men and squad depth is pretty poor in these two roles. I am a cautious man despite my checkered past offering plenty of opposing evidence.

Search on Stats for Playmaker

For me a playmaker should be about creating chances consistently so I look at per game stats.  Key Passes; Chances Created; Assists (all per 90 minutes) build up a picture of a player as a creator. I also like to look at how many dribbles a player completes per game. It tells me a bit about their style. Do they pass around the opposition or are they not afraid of breaking lines with a dribble.

McKinlay played most of last season as my Mezalla but it was Burr as supporting central midfielder who posted the best stats in the team. Sam Pugh didn’t get as much game time this season as I had liked and he’s suffering from being between centre-mid and striker. He’s got the attributes to be our man up front but his lack of goals has been worrying.

Burr:

3.36 Key Passes / 90
0.86 Chances Created / 90
0.3 Assists / 90
1.15 Dribbles Completed / 90

 

McKinlay:

2.82 Key P / 90
0.66 Chances Created / 90
0.14 Assists / 90
0.75 Drb / 90

 

Pugh:

1.70 Key P / 90
0.63 Chances Created / 90
0.34 Assists / 90
1.40 Drb / 90

 

The laptop is now on and waiting for me on the table – thing weighs a tonne weight and generates enough heat radiation to warm the pub’s smoking shelter so it’s going nowhere near my haw maws. I start typing into the SFA’s player information search tool or PIST for short. Strangely enough we’ve got some hits.

I alter the default display to change the view of the players’ stats and it throws up some interesting options for us.

 

There’s some interesting figures all over what our guys have posted this year but one stands out for me. I open up his file and I can see that not only are his stats looking great but I am delighted at the level he’s been performing at – Scottish Division Four? He’s getting a call!

 

 

I save his details into a folder on the PC called S3 Shortlist. This is where I keep all the seasons targets. I’ve got a general shortlist folder that I keep players details in if they’ve impressed me or one of the boys has recommended him. Its a back up list – nice to have, not need to have.

Search On Stats For Defensive Midfielder

Graeme Hunter is a local lad and I hope that his love for the club will keep him here for the next few years too. I have already decided though that Willie Thomson needs to leave for his own good. He’s just turned 30 and barely played last year. He’s got a few teams interested in him so I am prepared to make that happen. We’ve got a couple of boys in the unders that can play DM but none that really stand out. So that’s my next port of call. Back up to Hunter.

My defensive midfielder sits deep behind my 4-man midfield line and protects our centre backs. I don’t need him to ping balls about like a poor man’s Pirlo – intercept/tackle/pass – a golden trio. So we’re talking about stats such as Pass Completion Ratio; Tackles Won Ratio; Tackles Won / 90 minutes; Passes Completed / 90 minutes. I need a tidy player here – as few mistakes as possible because if he loses the ball it is such a dangerous area for us. Especially with our two galoots behind him. So Mistakes per game is important. So too are interceptions per game. Cutting out supply to the opponents strike force should be done higher up the pitch as we like to press high with the front 5 but a DMC that can read the game and cut out potentially dangerous through balls is worth his weight in beer.

Hunter:

80% Pass Completion Ratio
85% Tackles Won Ratio
31 / 35 = 0.89 Mistakes / Games
38 / 35 = 1.09 Interceptions / Games
7.25 Average Rating
2.6 Tackles Won / 90 minutes
38 Passes Completed / 90 minutes
11.3km Distance Covered / 90

 

Pretty solid stuff from my Vice-Captain but if he gets his head turned or develops an unhealthy interest in computer games then I need somebody to come in and do a job. First of all I check my notebook for kids in the unders. Hmmm there is this one boy who could be trained  up as a dm. Andrew Brown’s stats in the under 21 team show he can do it at that level but I’m not sure he can cope with the first team level yet. He’ll need to cut out the mistakes for one but his tackles won per game and interceptions per game are impressive.

So I’ll call Andrew tomorrow to tell him he gets promoted to the senior squad next season. He’ll still need to clean Hunter’s boots though. And its still worth having a look externally anyway.

Search on Attributes for DM

I turn again to PIST and change the search filters. I change the view again to see what I need as the page fills with potential signings. I skip past the professionals – if only there was a filter to only show players who were interested in joining us! Sadly down in the non-contract and free agents I can’t see anyone standing out for his statistics.

However one of my mates had text me the name of a potential. Again he’s only 16 but lets have a closer look-see! Kerr White. Scottish Division Thirteen. Potential. It says on his profile page that he works hard, naturally fit and is a competent passer of the ball. Sounds good to me so I save him to my S3 Shortlist folder.

Aw ya dick! I turn around and see in the glare of the Compaq that the glass went crotch-ward. Pissed yersel again Marty. You should maybe quit the drink if you can’t control your bladder. Right lets call it a day – I’ve got some phone calls to make.

This is obviously a work of fiction, created in a fictional landscape based upon Football Manager 2018 game. Its also a wee bit different from the usual Season Updates that have come before. I hope you liked it. As always I play using a reconstructed Scottish Leagues database created by FM Samo. Ask him for it via twitter or join us on FM Slack (again ask Samo for the invitation link).

Follow me on Twitter for more FM related nonsense – @tommysboy007

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