I’ve struggled to get into the last two FM games initially. I’m not 100% sure why, but the amass of new features and layouts in each version leaves me completely overwhelmed and unable to enjoy the game. However, as with previous editions, the dust settles and I can finally get into a game – and here is that game! A growing interest in Asian football and interest in Shrewnaldo’s club and country saves has led me to this save. So here is a (lengthy) introduction into what should be quite a mammoth save and my first season in charge.
When I was deciding upon a club I was seeking one with good youth facilities and decent finances, as this would set me up for producing a stream of talent to the national team. After looking through the Chinese league system I had 4 teams to choose from:
Shandong had the best facilities by a way, but I decided against them for two reasons. Firstly, they, along with Guangzhou Evergrande, are the best teams in the league. Secondly, if I were to use Shandong I would be running the risk of the league having only one strong talent producer, which in this sort of save would be limiting. In the end I went with Hangzhou Greentown.
Hangzhou Greentown (Lucheng)
The club has never won any form of trophy in its history, but to be fair it was only formed in 1998. Despite seemingly decent performance in previous Chinese Super League seasons the team was predicted a 15th place finish; in a 16 team league.
The facilities may not seem anything particularly special, although they are above average for the league. I also managed to get the board to improve the youth facilities early on into my tenure.
Right, enough of the boring stuff, now onto the reporting of my first season with club and country.
On first impression, I could see why we were tipped to go down. My better players were only rated as leading first division players which was slightly worrying. However, the squad was mostly very young and like most teams in China, my foreign players added a huge amount of quality.
Initially I was worried that all 3 where strikers as in China the best players in every team are the foreigners, and I even tried to sell David Claude Angan. In the end though I kept all 3 and was extremely happy I did so.
With regards to the Chinese players at the club the most promising are Feng Gang (LM), Luo Jing (RM) and Shi Ke (CB). Bear in mind the following screenshots were taken after the first season was finished.
I’ll go over more of the squad in a later post but for now its results time.
Chinese Super League
Overall, a massively surprising, fantastic season. A 4th place finish for a relegation tipped team, meaning we have a chance of reaching the Asian Champions League group stages. If anything characterised our season it was the high scoring games. We were lethal on the attack and rarely locked the door behind us, which meant 4 goals+ a game was not uncommon. We held 2nd place for a while and I thought we could hang on, but a late season slump in form meant we fell down to 4th.
A few games I’d like to highlight are the 3:2 win vs Shandong, in which we came back from 2:0 down at half time, thanks to a Anselmo Ramon hat trick. Also, doing the double over Guangzhou who are arguably the best team in the league was particularly satisfying. Having a couple of wins against a World Cup winner in Marcello Lippi won’t harm my CV either.
Chinese FA CUp
Another fantastic performance, leading us all the way to final. The two legged final would not do us any favours as we were absolutely humiliated in the first leg by a Vagner Love inspired Shandong team.
Unfortunately, the good news from Hangzhou didn’t overflow to the national team. The quite frankly terrible performances I have put down to the following:
- Tactical inconsistency- I have been constantly changing my mind on how to play with the national team which has meant we have been unable to get any sort of consistency.
- Not putting 100% in- The first season I have spent far more time getting to know my Hangzhou squad than the national team, and in FM you get out what you put in.
- Lack of player knowledge- Similar to the previous issue, my lack of player knowledge has meant that I haven’t really felt comfortable managing the team.
In an attempt to throw myself into the national team I took the option of managing the U23’s at the Asian Games. This also gave me a better idea of the players coming through the system. Unfortunately we were knocked out in the quarters after and amazing 6-2 win against Iran in the first knock out round. It was especially disappointing as it was against an average Kuwait team which we dominated. I also felt we had the players to actually win the tournament which would have been a great experience for the youngsters.
The Asian Cup is just around the corner for the mens team and I am planning a whole post devoted to it.
I am aware this isn’t the greatest opening to a story, shorter sharper posts are likely to be my way forward from now on. Up next is likely to be a player review of the first season so keep your eyes open.
As this is my first time FM blogging feedback would be absolutely fantastic so feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter.
Thanks for reading.