I’ve now completed my 4th season in my Football Manager 2017 Career and my second full season with Livingston.
I started my career game unemployed with Sunday league reputation and no coaching badges. The first job I got was with Stirling Albion in the Scottish League 2 where I won promotion. In my second season I moved to Livingston in the Scottish Championship and survived relegation. My third season I won promotion to the Premiership and I’ve now finished my first season in the Premiership.
My last update ended after the January transfer window where my team was sitting in mid table, I’d won the Betfred Cup, was still in the Scottish Cup and I’d improved my attacking players.
After bringing in some new players I ran into my first problem in my first game in February. I didn’t know how to get the best out of them. I signed an advanced playmaker from Man Utd but I already had a good player in the position so I changed my tactics to play with 2 advanced playmakers behind my target man and dropping a defensive midfielder but it didn’t quite work and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. The screenshot below shows the tactic.
Not to be put off I tried the same tactic in my next game which was a 4th round replay in the Scottish cup which I won 1-0 which was followed by another 1-0 league win and a 4-2 cup win all using the same tactics.
Despite the wins I wasn’t happy with the performances. My 2 playmakers weren’t playing well and I was lucky to win the 1-0 games while the good cup win was against a lower division team.
Things got worse after that and my next 3 games I lost so I revisited my tactics and for my next game I played a straight forward 4-4-1-1 formation and got a lucky 1-0 win but it meant dropping my new player which I wasn’t happy about.
I needed to work out how best to fit him in or rotate my players more and I’m not one to rotate good players in and out.
I decided to try out a formation I used in some previous versions of Football Manager where I played 3 attacking midfielders behind a striker, the screen shot below shows the tactic.
I won my next game 3-0 in the Scottish Cup quarter-final so should have been happy but the problem with that formation was I didn’t have the players to fit into the third attacking midfield and I had some good wingers so wasn’t sure how to fit them all in, I could retrain my wingers or I could replace them next season or I could tinker with my formations again.
It was at this point I noticed that my new advanced playmaker was also capable of playing on the wings in an advanced position so I decided to play a 4-3-3 formation as below and use him as an inside forward. Although it doesn’t show as his best position he has stats which fit the role.
The latest tweak in formations was a successful one as I won my first game using it 2-1 with my new inside forward getting the winning goal.
I was happy with that formation as it suited the players I had and incorporated my new players so I decided to stick with it and see how my team performed.
In amongst my tactical tinkering I also got a new batch of youngsters come into the club. Looking at my assistants reports only 2 looked liked they had potential, 1 is an advanced forward and the other a central defender so I gave them contracts and released the rest. Screenshots below show my intake and the 2 I’ve signed.
My new tactic worked wonders and I went on a good unbeaten run which included a Scottish Cup semi final win, 3 league wins and a draw. The league games put my team into the top half of the table for when it splits into 2 groups to play each other. I was also fighting for a top 4 finish although realistically I couldn’t finish higher than second as Celtic were running away with the title.
I had 5 games to play in the league’s top group stage before my Scottish Cup final game and my good form continued as I won 3 and drew 1 which put me into a guaranteed third place with 1 league game remaining.
As I was in the Scottish Cup final I decided to rest my best players for the last game as the result wasn’t important. Playing my reserves and youth players resulted in a 5-2 loss. The result looks worse than it was as it was 2-2 after 80 mins and I decided to go more attacking and conceded 3 in the last 10 minutes.
The Scottish Cup final was up next and was my last game of the season. I was playing Partick Thistle who had finishes 8th in the league so I was confident I’d get the win and I was right as we dominated the game winning 3-0 and getting a Cup Double.
Despite my tactical tinkering I finished the season strongly as I was very happy with my 3rd place league finish and 2 cup wins.
The most satisfying thing was that my second half form was down to my new January signings. The first half of the season I struggled for goals but that changed with signing Ashley Fletcher as he scored 14 goals in 16 league games including 4 in one game. He also scored 7 in 6 cup games giving a total of 21 goals in 22 games.
My other major signing Callum Gribbin, after being moved to the right-wing as an inside forward ended up scoring 5 league goals and getting 7 league assists in 14 games and in the cups he got 4 assists in 5 games.
Following my good season I also cleaned up at the end of season rewards winning both the Players Manager of the Year and the Writers Manager of the Year awards.
My left winger (on loan from Middlesbrough) also won the Young Player of the Year and my young left defender made the leagues team of the year.
Ashley Fletcher also won the teams fans player of the year with Callum Gribbin second which shows how much of an impact those January signings had.
At the start of my FM17 career, my aim was to become a world-class manager and if possible get to the top of the in-game hall of fame, that’ll take a while to get to so to speed it up I’ll need to be more selfish and disregard club loyalty if better opportunities become available so after all games this season had been played I looked on the job search to see if any bigger clubs were available and noticed that the English Premiership clubs Arsenal and Burnley were available.
Arsenal had finished 6th and Burnley had been relegated. Both were bigger clubs but realistically I didn’t think either would want me but I applied anyhow.
Arsenal dismissed me straight away but Burnley gave me an interview. My interview was successful and I’ve been offered the Burnley job.
As of writing I’ve not yet accepted the offer as I’m not sure if it’s the right time to leave Livingston.
I’m building a good squad at Livi and could build on my good season next year and aim to challenge for the title and I qualified for the Europa League cup which could be interesting. The major problem is that I don’t have much money for transfers or wages so I’m limited in improving my squad and managerial wise, Livingston are a small club in a relatively poor league.
However, Burnley are a bigger club and despite being relegated to the English Championship they still have a squad capable of bouncing back up straight away and will give me a lot more money to spend.
Long term Burnley could speed up my managerial career but I could regret leaving Livingstone with unfinished business.
I’ll have to have a think about it and I’ll post an update with what decision I’ve made.
I’ll finish this update with a few screenshots of various end of season stuff along with my managers stats.
– Sparko Marco