So here it is dear followers, the announcement of my football manager 2019 save where the Heathens begin their first tentative steps towards global domination, with a network of affiliated clubs around the world as per some of the modern football franchise models such as those created by Red Bull and Manchester City.
This of course builds upon the success of my FM18 save, which resulted not in the much-hoped for FM Holy Grail of a Champions League win but the extremely satisfying FA Cup win over our greatest rivals Liverpool after a sometimes tortuous but very enjoyable climb from League Two; made even sweeter as both me and the Liverpool manager Diego Simeone entered the final facing the sack race with him losing his job the day after 🙂 If you’ve not seen the video of that final game you can find it here:
But onwards and upwards to this new save, which as I say is to set up a franchise network of clubs around the globe under the Heathen brand with these aims:
- To give me a range of different clubs and challenges for FM19
- To use this franchise model to facilitate club and youth development
- To create a narrative with more stories, more drama, more fun 🙂
As this is a big project I have divided the creation of these clubs into three categories, based on whether we have full ownership, just shares or a regular affiliation:
- NEWLY CREATED TEAMS OR COMPLETE TAKEOVERS (name suffixed with ‘HEATHENS’ e.g. ‘HOBART HEATHENS‘): complete takeovers under the Heathen banner and name as if the club has been bought out or founded
- PARTNERSHIPS (name prefixed with ‘NH’ e.g. ‘NH PUMAS‘): shared ownership, retaining their own history but merging it with Newton Heath (think graphics, slight name changes etc)
- STANDARD AFFILIATES (No renaming): as per usual FM affiliate arrangements
The teams will then be chosen in this order of priority:
- Teams with a link to the railway industry as per Newton Heath
- Teams with a link to the real Manchester United’s history
- Teams local to the main team in that area
In fact, I have already chosen a few clubs which you can see here:
As you can see, they’re quite varied in location and quality so I think this shows well the worldwide scale of the project and also the realistic feeder links I am going for (ie Lokomotives Leipzig/Moscow and HK Heathens/Hobart Heathens). This of course will be greatly expanded to cover the globe with an estimated 20-30 teams, all of which will be playable should I so choose (though I will probably play just 4 or 5).
How this fits in with the current Newton Heath story (and new adjustments required)
If you followed the story last year, we began in a world with an alternate history, where Newton Heath were not bailed out by John Henry Davies in 1902 to become Manchester United, but in fact, struggled on, yo-yoing through the divisions until 2017 when they were sitting firmly in League Two. This was inspired by both my love of United and my old dad Jack who was a train driver at the same depot and who sadly passed away in April of this year (God bless you Dad x). If you are interested in reading about that Heathens journey, you can find all the blogs here on this site under the ‘Heathens resurrected‘ title.
After rising through the divisions with three successive promotions I managed to take the club to the Premier League, ending the save with that FA Cup win. However, that was in 2030, so I need to revise the Newton Heath alternate history so that it is believable that they are in a position to have already rolled out an extensive franchise model, both in terms of reputation and finances, as of the start of season 2018-19. The risk, I guess, is just recreating the current Manchester United, so I will try to build a different profile to avoid this.
The result of this will (hopefully) be that they will be a mid-table Premier League side with reasonable finances but a worldwide reputation among the football-watching public as an historic club. This should give me a shorter challenge than an LLM save involving a long promotion run given I will have a lot more teams globally that I can step in and out of to manage.
The Next Steps
Having already spent days on the project just in this planning phase I need to simplify it from now on, so here are the next things I need to do with that firmly in mind:
- Finalise the teams list, using EXISTING FM leagues where possible (it will be much easier than adding new playable leagues come editing time)
- Create graphics for every new or bought out team (the partnership and regular affiliates will mostly stay the same, apart from maybe some logo work)
- KISS for Keep It Simple Stupid, because if you know me, you’ll understand that that’s one thing I’m not very good at 🙂
Oh, and PS, there’s an added bonus in the save in that my pal Tom, who many of you know as @FMpoacher from twitter will also have a completely unconnected team in the same database matched to his own FM19 project called the Derby Midland Revival, which you can view on his blog here. It is also a railway team so it fits well in this universe and should be goddamn cool to follow.
Until next time, wish me luck and watch this space!