‘Match of the 1970’s’ Updating the British Style – Emulating Clough, Shankly and Paisley (5)

R01SheepskinWell, I’ve now played up until the end of the pre-season, so I think it’s time to update you all on how things are going in the Bradford City save. Well, it’s been a Summer of change at Bradford. Not only did we get promoted from League One to the Championship by winning the division, but my Summer transfers did not go as I had planned, or expected. As a result, things are a lot different at Bradford to how they were when I took over.

In the last update, I said that we needed a striker and a defender at minimum in the transfer window. I wanted a ‘goalscoring’ striker to support workhorse Jon Stead, and a faster (ideally ball playing) centre back to partner Rory McArdle in the Back 4. I also wanted those players to be young, and inject some energy into the (sometimes) lethargic side. This was a very sound plan, plugging the holes and weaknesses in the squad, whilst retaining the loan players that had been useful from the previous season. This did not happen. Instead, it was better.

‘Match of the 1970’s’ Updating the British Style – Emulating Clough, Shankly and Paisley (4)

Well, the first season with Bradford City is over, much faster than I thought it would be. R01SheepskinIt’s a testament to how much I’m enjoying this save that I’m playing through it so quickly. Usually I take about 3 weeks to get through a season on Football Manager, and I’ve done this in far less. I actually played the second half of this season in one day, something I haven’t done since I was at school.

In the last post I covered the first half of the season. We were 5 points clear at the top of League One, having semi deliberately knocked ourselves out of all the cup competitions. I was also having serious issues with the form of my ‘best player’ Billy Knott, and really at a loss for reasons why he wasn’t playing well. So, how did things end then?

‘Match of the 1970’s’ Updating the British Style – Emulating Clough, Shankly and Paisley (3)

WellR01Sheepskin, we’ve reached January in the Bradford City save, so it’s time to update you on how things are going. In the last update, I went through my plans for the save, and discussed my ideas on player loyalty, squad management and tactics. In short, I’m hoping to remain very loyal to players (until they are ‘past it’ or stop being loyal to me), focus on Home Nation talent whilst not excluding foreign signings, and use a 4-4-2. Of course, I can’t just be simple and I’ve still not been able to use a standard 4-4-2. It’s ended up being a lopsided 4-4-2, with 3 central midfielders and a right winger. It’s extremely influenced by Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side.

‘Match of the 1970’s’ Updating the British Style – Emulating Clough, Shankly and Paisley (2)

R01SheepskinRight, it’s time to get this new save rolling, and outline my plans. Here’s my 70’s/80’s style manager on the right, sporting an untrustworthy smile, and stereotypical sheepskin coat (channelling his inner Don Revie). Complete with an abrasive attitude, unrelenting self confidence, a love of attacking football, and a burning passion that 4-4-2 is the best formation in football, he’s going to take English football by storm.

So, who is he going to be taking English football by storm with? In the last update, I hinted that I had a particular club in mind, and that club was Preston North End, over in the North West of the country. I went to University in Preston, and as such know the club fairly well, but in the end I decided against them, and went for a team that have been mentioned quite a lot in the football media over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately it’s for sad reasons, but that club is Bradford City. In ‘The Damned United’, Brian Clough says ‘you can’t manage a team that’s not your own people’. I’m from the North East, but a short drive away from Yorkshire, and therefore the move slightly south to Bradford made sense. Much like Clough moved South to Derby, and Revie moved South to Leeds, my manager is moving South, to bring Bradford back up into the promised land. With all this 70’s/80’s nostalgia, I’ll do my best not to call the Premiership Division 1.

‘Match of the 1970’s’ Updating the British Style – Emulating Clough, Shankly and Paisley (1)

I apologise that it’s been a while since I’ve produced any content for this blog. We recently achieved SI Affiliate status and I wanted to get tons of content out, but being a student at university and juggling a job isn’t easy, and sometime it gets in the way of playing Football Manager (rubbish excuse, I know). Nevertheless, most of my deadlines are done in the next few weeks, and I should have much more time to play Football Manager again.

Image result for shanklyAs you will know, the majority, if not all of my saves have a tactical plan behind them. With Eibar it was to test the 4-5-1-0, with Sturm it was initially 4-1-4-1, then 3-5-2, then 4-5-1. If there isn’t anything interesting to do tactically, a save usually dies for me. However, lately I haven’t been feeling quite the tactical inspiration that I usually have, and I think that’s because I hopped around so many different tactical ideas with Sturm, largely because of the freedom such a versatile squad gave me. Pretty much the only formation I couldn’t play was 4-2-3-1. That save effectively spoilt me in terms of tactics.

So, how to get around this, and get the tactical inspiration back? Well, I’m going to do it by restricting myself to one formation, and using it as a tactical challenge. I’ll explain more as this article goes on, and I’ll outline the save that will be coming soon to this blog.

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