Saving Preston 1946 #2: Best Laid Plans

It’s easy to assume that everything is going to work in an edited DB when you have done countless tests and everything has, well, worked. But as I have found out to my peril several times when creating dbs it’s one thing to test without you playing it and stress testing it, and another to run a blind holiday test where nobody is interacting with the game mechanics.

I was reminded of this the hard way after that first blog Saving Preston 1946 #1: Two Years to Win Them All and all it’s promise fired me up to get stuck into a save that would come to a depressing stop in the February of the first season, the problem being that my resurrected British Home Championship would decide to take players away from me for a whole two month period. A simple scheduling error on my part (I had set it to run across two months as per real life like WC qualifiers, not realising they would be on duty ALL that time), meant that at this beautiful point below, with us in 1st and flying way ahead of PNE’s real life 1946 7th finish, the save was as dead as a famous parrot:

But I am not one to be deterred, so enter a new v1.31 save file – available now at the top of my twitter page here – with the problem corrected and the familiar cry of #wegoagain to set me forward to a new beginning where we quickly recreated our form to get to the same 1st position by the start of October, which was highly reassuring as in the new 1.31 test Preston yet again had almost matched their real life form by finishing 8th as per the calibration I had done.

So why are we doing so well against these calibrated odds? Well I firmly believe it is absolutely to do with our now adapted v2 of our original WM tactic, which now has Tom Finney in his proper place as a Winger on support rather than his right sided AMC as a Treq:

As you can see from those ratings, this is where the goals are coming from. Now don’t get me wrong, it was obviously working anyway in the first save to get us to the top of the league but there was a clumsiness to it that didn’t match the way that I saw Finney move in his highlight videos. He would often end up way out of position and that AMC slot would be vacant when the ball came in. This way however he is playing much more like in real life and very much like Stanley Matthews, which was exactly the situation that gave the England selectors such headaches for so long in that RW slot.

But why didn’t I put him there in the first place you may ask? Well strangely he was completely lost and barely getting a touch on the wing in the first outing but this time I made that simple highlighted change of adding an overlap to the RH side and suddenly it all changed, despite there not being a FB behind him to actually do the overlap. You might call this an FM hack in that case but what it does cause is a greater concentration of movement on that side with some smaller overlaps nonetheless. Here are some comparison metrics so you can see what I mean:

As you can see in the 2nd game he was massively more effective and in every sense an elite winger, whereas before he was a mildly effective no 10 treq. What was surprising to me is that it took the overlap to do this, especially because there isn’t a FB to actually do that, but rather that the other players move more around him in what you would probably term a smaller, local overlap, either supplying him or giving him the opportunity to cut or pass inside more as per this example, where the overlap is smaller and comes from our new treq, McLaren:

Now don’t get me wrong, he’s not posting these stats every game from there (especially when Shanks isn’t playing behind) and occasionally I move him back inside to the no 10 when the need arises, but it has given me a pretty powerful option that he will grow into even more I think as he develops given he is only 24 at this point in time.

On a final note on this part of the blog, he also made it into the team of the year in that position behind McIntosh, which says it all really:

Onwards and upwards to see how this affected our league form going forward. As you can imagine we are still smashing it and are still 1st after 35 played. What is interesting though is that while we have always been a high scoring team we have now scored 5 or more in 5 of the last 9 games since he switched to the wing (marked with the cross), whereas the highest we got before was 4 in one game. We are also in the FA Cup semi final after destroying Villa 6-1 away:

So going forward it is all looking very positive from here!

And finally, a little thank you ..

I just wanted to end this blog with a thanks to the people who have helped develop it and to those who have also played it. From DMs, asking around and a brief twitter poll I reckon there has been around 30-50 of you so far who have had a dabble, even if it is just to have a look around at the historical players, so cheers for the support and I hope you enjoy the journey into 1946.

That is it for now. I thought I would keep it brief as I just wanted to share the Tom Finney transformation today.

Thanks for reading and join me next time to see how we did in the FA Cup!

Cheers,

Daz aka @FMheathen everywhere

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