La Libération de Caen #1: Establishing a Beachhead

“Caen we kick it?”
@BrookSand21

“On such small tweets are battles won and lost”
@WinstonChurchill

.. about as subtle as a lamppost to the face whilst jogging.
@FMPoacher

Advancing on the beaches ..

Deciding on a new football manager save is a precarious business.

As any long-time FM player knows it is one that requires careful thought before possibly embarking on a thousand hour odyssey of emotional highs and lows; not to mention the occasional loss of Saturday night sexy time with the missus as you play that one last game only to find she’s snoring like a hog by the time your mini-me pokes her in the back, tingling from your latest 17 year old newgen’s debut.

That said, with absolutely no preconceptions I embarked on a few days away in freezing Chester this week for the aforementioned missus’ birthday with steely determination to find my FM20 save accompanied by a notepad, a few obscure footy mags, a hotline to the FM twitteratti and more than a few cheeky glasses of Stella. The resulting passage of play is best summed up in these tweets ..

So there we have it, spurned by a few tipples, some pissed off glances from the missus and an article in the most excellent ‘Football Weekends‘ (combined with a lot of twitter prodding and the fact that I goddamn love history) my save for this year’s edition will be with SM Caen.

The history bit ..

Actually I’m being a bit flippant about the history bit because if you know me or follow me on twitter you’ll know that I’m obsessed by history and in fact visited Normandy for the D-Day beaches back in August with my lad, staying just 3 miles from Stade Michel d’Ornano, SM Caen’s stadium. That said, it would have been extremely convenient to have known then that I was going to take charge of the team but hey ho, here’s an arty picture I took of the allied war memorial on Sword Beach, where the Free French force invaded on the 6th June 1944 alongside the British and Canadian lads:

And that, in essence, is why a save with SM Caen (actually Stade Malherbe Caen) appealed to me. This is a team and location which, as well as being at the heart of the D Day invasion in this 75th anniversary year, are from the same region as William the Conquerer and are called ‘Les Vikings’ because of their ‘Norman/Northmen’ connections (thanks to @fmgrasshopper for the education on that).

In addition, in terms of footy history they straddled the war with back to back ‘Normandy league’ wins and perhaps more relevant to an FM challenge, they didn’t turn pro until 1984; have subsequently ping ponged between the two top divisions ever since; were beaten finalists in the Coupe de la Ligue in 2005 and were relegated to Ligue Two on the last day of last season after a massive conflict in the management team! Nuff said!

The battleplan ..

All this considered then it should be a pretty good, albeit difficult, save. To make it even more challenging they’re currently at the foot of Ligue Two after 12 played with a team that barely resembles the one that was relegated, so the starting squad should be interesting with an almost equal mix of aging Ligue 1/2 journeymen and a few reserves they’ve brought forward to fill the gaps, which should suit the new #fm20 focus on youth development pathways.

That said, and thinking about the new 5 year plan feature in this year’s edition, my (extremely ambitious) aims will be as follows:

  1. YEAR ONE:
    ESSENTIAL: Survive relegation, do better than IRL team
    PREFERRED: Playoff place
    PERFECT: Promotion
    CUPS: Not bothered
  2. YEAR TWO:
    ESSENTIAL: Playoff place
    PREFERRED: Promotion
    PERFECT: (If promoted previously) Ligue 1 survival
    CUPS: Better than year one
  3. YEAR THREE (ASSUMING PROMOTION):
    ESSENTIAL: Ligue 1 Survival
    PREFERRED: Mid-table
    PERFECT: Top six (hmmmm ..)
    CUPS: Not bothered, concentrate on Ligue
  4. YEAR FOUR:
    ESSENTIAL: Top six
    PREFERRED: Top four
    PERFECT: Win the League!
    CUPS: Quarters/semis
  5. YEAR FIVE:
    ESSENTIAL: Top four
    PREFERRED: Top two
    PERFECT: Win the league
    CUPS: Finalists or win
  6. YEARS 6-10:
    ESSENTIAL: Win the league if not already
    PREFERRED: Doubles, trebles, anything with an ‘..les’ at the end
    CUPS: Win the Champions League

In reality of course I could be sacked in the first season and the three hours I’ve spent writing this will be a waste of time 🙂

How I will do it ..

Hmmmmmm .. apart from a focus on youth, not sure yet! Watch this space.

And finally ..

On a last note I thought I might share this little taste of what I have awaiting me on my soon to be arrival at the Stade Michel d’Ornano with this glimpse at the last team they used in their 4–2 victory over Paris FC this Friday (who are shite, no, really shite) that was their first win in 9 games and only their second this season.

I simulated this using the current transfers file from sortitoutsi in FM19 which I can highly recommend for researching your FM20 squad prior to release, though not necessarily to play with as they don’t have the updated attribs for this season.

As you can see if the FM Gods are to be believed we have a serious problem in attacking midfield, where apparently they’ve been playing players completely out of position for several games now (Armougom for example is a natural leftback). However, lacking any command whatsoever of the French language to read the match reports and giving the current manager the benefit of the doubt I’m guessing that it must be through either injury necessity or lack of quality in those positions.

So there it is! The next blog will be either at the start of the beta or the release proper (not decided yet) where I will of course go in much more depth with squad review and all the usual FM blog gubbins.

Till then, tata for now!

Daz (aka @fmheathen)

PS has to be said, given the topic ..

Image result for lest we forget d day

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