Du Malone writes: I started playing Football Manager with the FM14 edition. I’ve made excursions into many leagues but my main focus has been on lower leagues clubs from the South-West of England and from Greece.

I like taking over clubs that are predicted to do badly — the fight-bravely-against-relegation type.

My longest save, which lasted over a third of a century. was with Plymouth Argyle (FM14). My favourite was the Cretan club, Episkopi (again FM14).

Tactics and roles

My favourite formation has been a libero-based 5-3-1-1, typically counter-attacking. FM19 disrupted this system by, to my dismay, removing the option of the sweeper position behind the back 4.

Yes, I know there’s a libero role, but it’s not quite the same: I don’t really like playing a back 5 all in a line. You can push the full backs forward into wing back positions, but i find that rather changes things.

When I’m not using a libero, I often plump for using a wide target man. I got interested in this role after reading an article on sportslens entitled ‘The evolution of the “target man”‘.

12 Oct 19 Yves Desmarets
Yves Desmarets. Image generously made available under a CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

After reading that article I signed an ageing Haitian wingback called Yves Desmarets for Aris Salonica.

We kept getting pinned in our own half but Desmarets’ ability, when converted to a wide target man, to hold the ball up and then lay it off enabled our other players to get up the field and play in the opposition half.

Now, after listening to an episode of the GrassNGear podcast and then watching videos of Riquelme, I’m developing an interest in the enganche role. I look forward to exploring it more on FM20.

USP

The most distinctive feature of my approach to FM is that I devote a great deal of attention to the appointment, contracting, and deployment of backroom staff. It’s not just a question of attributes, I say.

Nothing beats the appointment of a good Head Physio.

12 Oct 19 physio II
Winchester City vs Beaconsfield. Image by Paul Paxford, generously made available under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence.

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