My 5th season in my FM17 career game is now completed which is my first with Burnley. I can’t remember the last time I managed 5 full seasons on Football Manager without starting a new game for various reasons. Its nice sticking with one save for a change, it helps that I’ve changed teams often so it keeps it fresh.
My mid-season update ended as usual after the January transfer window where my team was doing well sitting on top of the league, I was in the EFL cup semi-final needing to overturn a 2-1 first leg defeat, I was into the FA cup 4th round and I had just strengthened my squad with £30 million worth of players. Things were looking good and I was happy with how my season was going.
My first game following the transfer window was the EFL semi-final second leg at home to Derby. Needing to overturn a 2-1 defeat my team had a good first half scoring just before half time leveling the score on aggregate.
The second half then started well dominating possession without creating too many chances, then in the 62nd minute we conceded an equaliser against the run of play. After that Derby sat back defending so I went more attacking and more direct hoping to create enough chances to get a goal to take it to extra time and in the 82nd minute I got and scored a penalty and the game went into an uneventful extra time and ended with a penalty shootout which I won 5-4 taking me into my first cup final with Burnley in only my first season.
Following the EFL cup game I had an FA cup 4th round game at home where I beat Crystal Palace 2-1, they were struggling in the premiership so it wasn’t much of a shock result.
After the cup games I had a run of league games where I won 4 games in a row, at this point my lead at the top was getting bigger and bar anything drastic happening promotion should be guaranteed.
My next 3 games were the FA cup 5th round, a league game then the EFL cup final. The FA cup game was away to Premiership side West Ham who were doing well in the league. I was hopeful of maybe pulling off a draw but West Ham were too good for me and I lost 3-0, my team never looked like scoring.
The league game was much better winning 4-0 away from home boosting morale before the big cup final.
The EFL cup final was against Man City, having already knocked Man Utd out of the cup I was hoping Man City would also play their youth and reserve players and looking at their team they had indeed rested several first team players, unfortunately they still had a very strong team playing so I didn’t fancy my chances but you never know what could happen in a cup final.
The game went how I expected with Man City dominating the game but we somehow held on during the first half keeping the game at 0-0 despite City having 11 shots at goal. The second half mirrored the first with City dominating and my team holding on and I got to full-time at 0-0.
Going into extra time I starting thinking we could pull of a shock by either nicking a goal or taking it to penalties. Unfortunately I conceded in the 100th minute and then again in the 106th minute. Having not created much all game I resigned myself to getting beat but then against the run of play I got a goal back in the 118th minute, sensing the comeback on I went all out attacking for the last 2 minutes but got caught out on the counter attack conceding in the 121st minute and lost the final. I was happy that we took the game to extra time and we had a good run to the final so can’t have any complaints, we were beat by a vastly superior team.
2 cup defeats in quick succession left only league games left to worry about of which I still had 12 to play. I needed to hope that the cup final defeat didn’t adversely affect my players and that they kept their good league form going to the end of the season as I was fancying the league win now, not just promotion.
Shortly after the cup final I got my first batch of youth players with Burnley. I was looking forward to getting some good players as Burnley have excellent youth facilities and a youth level 1 and although the youth recruitment is only above average I still hoped for some good players. When I got the news that the new intake had arrived I was quickly disappointed with what I saw, only 1 player looked like he might have potential, I signed him up and hopefully he will progress into a good player. All the rest were released from the club.
My final 12 league games went well and I stayed unbeaten in them with the highlight being a 7-1 away win against MK Dons which was my biggest of the season and a new club record for a high scoring game followed by a 5-1 home win against the clubs fierce rivals Preston which pleased the fans.
Following a 2-2 draw in the next game I secured a play-off place in mid March with 8 games to go, I then secured promotion at the start of April following 2 more draws, one of which my goalkeeper kept a league record 18th clean sheet.
A week later after the Easter games and another 2 draws the title was confirmed with 4 games to spare which ended with 2 wins and 2 draws to end a very good season.
Just before season finished with a couple of games to play my news feed informed me that my total of 95 points was a new team record as was my 27 league wins, that got better with a draw and a win in my last 2 games and I ended the season with 28 wins, 16 draws and only 2 losses, scoring 93 goals, conceding 39 and getting 100 points.
Looking at the league stats I also found my team had the highest average possession, most goals scored and least conceded.
Riu Pedro, the £650k striker I signed from Porto finished top scorer in the league with 34 goals in 39 games and 40 in 42 games including cup games. That’s possibly the best striker I’ve had for a few years of Football Manager games, let’s hope he can do it in the Premiership too.
He also got the Burnley player of the year award, signing of the season and young player of the season in the club awards.
As well as the club awards he won the leagues player of the year award, the top scorer award and was 1 of 5 players from my team in the team of the year along with my back 4 defenders.
In the season summary Pedro was also listed as the signing of the season and had the leagues highest average rating.
I also won the league manager of the year award
After guiding Burnley back to the Premiership I checked the clubs general info and found that I’m now listed as a favoured personnel along with my goalkeeper Heaton who was already a favorite and 3 of the players I signed in the summer.
The league was an easy win but it’s not surprising as even though my net spend was negative I still signed £88 million pound worth of players, much more than any of my rivals so you could say I bought the league, it’ll be a lot different in the Premiership as all clubs will be spending big money.
That ends the season update. I’ve now got to prepare for the Premiership but I’m not sure what to do with my squad. The players I’ve got are potentially top Premiership players but currently most are only have Championship ability and are young, they may struggle in the prem but I don’t want to stifle their development bringing in new players. I might just stick with my team and if I’m in trouble come January then invest unless anyone world-class wants to join me, I’ve got the money to sign big players if I wanted to.
I’ll end with a few screen shots of my manager, club and end of season stuff.
– Sparko Marco