Heathens Global #4: Birth of a club 2.0

So here we go with our FM19 Newton Heath 1878 journey and as the editing is probably going to take me a few weeks I thought I’d give a brief update on where I am up to.  Having had the editor for the past 24 hours I have (mostly) finished the first edit, which of course is the Newton Heath 1878 team itself so here are some details.  The post I guess is a bit nerdy with less pictures and more serious than my usual writing but I hope you still find it interesting.

First, a quick update – as most of you who have been following the project on twitter will know, I am aiming for a global domination narrative this year, in an alternate universe where Newton Heath 1878 are now a Premier League level club at game start with a few slight twists to keep it interesting.  By interesting, I mean that it will be very different to just continuing my FM18 save, where they would basically have just been Manchester United albeit with a slightly different history, which would have been absolutely pointless.

Instead of course we have gone down this affiliation path as I outlined in Heathens Global #1: Rationale and setup, where back in 1976, after the disappointment of losing Old Trafford as a site for a new stadium (blocked by Manchester City board members who were also members of the City Council planning committee), Newton Heath became the world’s first franchise model club along the lines of Red Bull, and more recently Man City with their attempts to create branded affiliates across the globe.  As such, I have had to make the following changes to the club history to make the narrative authentic:

Previous FM18 history in a nutshell

  • The club ISN’T bailed out in 1902 by John Henry Davies to become Utd but stays as Newton Heath
  • They have their own legends, icons and complete new history, including women’s footballers from the First World War (Lily Cottam) and Wilfred and Patrick Feeney, the ‘Ballymena Bullets’ (but we still have Denis Law 🙂 )
  • They yoyo up and down through the divisions, leaving them in League Two at the FM18 game start

New changes to the story

  • All the history up until 1976 is the same but at that point the club start with the franchise model (if you want to read the actual board meeting transcript where that happened, it’s here: Heathens global #2: The plans begin)
  • Over the next 40 years, they add over 20 clubs at 3 tiers of the franchise as follows: 1) brand new clubs bearing the ‘Heathens’ suffix e.g. Hobart Heathens and Penarol Paganos (which means ‘Heathens’ or ‘Pagans’ in Spanish) 2) Taken-over clubs bearing the prefix ‘NH’, where Newton Heath has a minimum of 51% control e.g. ‘NH Pumas’ and 3) Regular affiliates
  • The programme goes reasonably well, with the main benefits not being so much financial but transfers, loans and youth development
  • There is a fan takeover in 1989, when a businessman called Michael Knighton makes a 20mil bid for the club and its affiliates and the outraged fans raise 25mil to buy the club to forever make it fan-owned
  • Despite all this, the club have never won the Premier League since being promoted into it in the 2003-04 season
  • They have won the League Cup twice and more recently the FA Cup, against Liverpool in 2015 (to emulate what I did with them at the end of the FM18 save)
  • THE MOST CRUCIAL (I.E. INTERESTING) CHANGE: The club are relegated at the end of the 2017-18 season after receiving an 18pt penalty for fielding three ineligible players in an FA Cup quarter final against Manchester City (you can read the news article here Heathens global #3: STOP PRESS 17/3/18), WITH a transfer embargo to the January window. This, of course, will give me a promotion challenge where I will be forced to use the affiliates for loanees

How I have done it – Newton Heath vs Manchester United profiles in the editor

This new narrative was quite convenient in that I could use the regular Manchester United as a template in the editor so long as I changed their character completely, whereas last time I had to completely create a new League Two club, delete the real Utd and move loads of clubs around, which was a right pain in the arse. I c an also leave FC United in this time as they don’t really affect the narrative.

However, it is harder than you might imagine to bring Manchester United down to earth in editor terms as they are one of the richest clubs in the game and to align this profile with the Newton Heath story took some thought.  What I needed was a mid-table Premier side who had fallen from grace after never really capitalizing on the commercial benefits of the affiliates programme due partly to being fan-owned.  In short, the planning has took many hours but here is a brief summary, which will hopefully make the story believable:

newton heath fm19 edits So that is where we are up to for now.  If you’re interested in the editing process, the next steps are as follows:

  • Run a test to open up Newton Heath in the game to check it is all believable and workable
  • Create all the other teams
  • Affiliate them all
  • Run a final 10 year test without managing
  • Play the bloody thing 🙂

That said, thanks for reading.  I probably won’t release any more blogs about the editing process but if you’re interested contact me on my twitter if you have any questions.

See ya soon,

Daz aka @FMheathen on twitter


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