Football Manager 2019: 5 teams you might want to manage

Written by @FridayNightFM

You’ve got a day off of work or school, you fire up your computer, load Football Manager and then you ask yourself ‘who do I manage?’.

It can be tough choosing a team with so many challenges out there but for those that are like me and love a back story, this post is for you as I’ll give you a reason to manage the team and hopefully you’ll let us know if we’ve piqued your interest.

Here are 5 football teams with interesting stories that I hope will inspire you to a start a save with:

FC Twente

The story of Twente could be described as riches to rags & back again. Champions in 2010 to nearly bankrupt in 2018 and not for the first time as the club was saved from bankruptcy in 2002 by Chairman Joop Munsterman. From 2002 Twente’s stature in Dutch football grew, 2 fourth place finishes and a 2nd place were eclipsed in the 2009/10 season when they won their first Eredivisie Championship. The seasons that followed that first championship win were filled with turmoil, there were allegations of financial mismanagement which included transfers & expanding the De Grolsch Veste, both of which the club could not actually afford. In 2016 the club were relegated to the Eerste Divisie (the second tier) by the KNVB due to these irregularities but after appeal the club were allowed to remain in the Eredivisie, not that it mattered as the club was relegated naturally two years later.

In Football Manager:

Transfer Budget £500k | Wage Budget £70k p/w

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Isco, Joaquin, Willy Cabellero, Julio Baptista and Ruud van Nistelrooy are just a handful of ex-Malaga players signed during the Al Thani era but unlike Manchester City, having a sheikh owner doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed success. The 2011-12 season saw Malaga finish 4th in La Liga meaning they qualified for The Champions League. They progressed from the group stages in a group that contained AC Milan, Zenit St Petersburg & Anderlect. They beat Porto in the round of sixteen and were eventually knocked out in the Quarter Finals against Borussia Dortmund after Dortmund scored 2 offside goals in injury time to send the Spanish side out of the competition.

The following season Malaga were banned from European competition for four years due to the clubs debts, however after appeal the ban was decreased to one year.

The lack of European football meant their star players wanted to leave and with that downward trajectory of the football team and in the 2017/18 season they were relegated to the Segunda Division.

In Football Manager:

Transfer Budget £3.7m | Wage Budget £388k p/w

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AS Saint-Étienne

The best team in France, or they once were. With a record 10 Ligue 1 titles Saint-Étienne have a rich history in French football but the 10 Championships were won between 1957 & 1981, a distant memory for Les Verts fans. Moving to the turn of the millennium and to fresher memories; Saint-Étienne were docked 7 points in the 2000/01 season after Brazilian Alex Dias & Ukranian Maksym Levytsky used fake passports that linked back to involvement from the club’s management. The points penalty was to prove too much of a mountain to climb and the club were relegated to Ligue 2. Upon their return to Ligue 1 after 3 seasons Saint-Étienne’s best league position has been 5th which meant European football for the first time in 23 years, that young squad was influenced by the likes of Blaise Matuidi & Dimitri Payet. This achievement was followed up in 2013 when Saint-Étienne won the Coupe de la Ligue, their first major domestic silverware for 30 years.

In Football Manager:

Transfer Budget £6.2m | Wage Budget £483k p/w

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Sporting Lisbon

Sporting have a rich, successful history in football but what happened towards the end of last season makes for an interesting story. In a training ground attack where 50 of the clubs supporters forced their way into the club’s training ground and assaulted players and staff, Bas Dost, that seasons top scorer, came away with a nasty head injury and players such as Rui Patricio, Gelson Martins, William Carvalho & Daniel Podence were all involved in the altercation which lead to a number of key players cancelling their contracts with the club. Why did this happen a week before a Cup Final? Well, outspoken club president Bruno De Carvalho took to Facebook to criticise the team’s performance against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League. The players responded by posting a joint statement defending their commitment to the club, but not to De Carvalho. It was believed that De Carvalho organised the attacks, but at the time those rumours were unconfirmed. In June 2018 the club’s members held a vote and 71.36% of them voted against Carvalho continuing as club President and later that year the Portuguese Public Ministry charged Carvalho with terrorism and 98 other crimes including aggravated threat, kidnapping, qualified offence to physical integrity & possession of a prohibited weapon.

In Football Manager:

Transfer Budget £7.1m | Wage Budget £673k p/w

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I’ve added Pachuca to the list because it’s a club that I’ve wanted to manage in FM for a number of years, but have never taken the plunge. I first watched Pachuca’s youth team play against Manchester United in 2008 & I’ve been keeping an eye on them ever since. When Mexico played at the 2012 Olympics, I watched them beat Senegal and got to see a Pachuca graduate, Hector Herrera, play and score in the game. Their youth academy produces some stunning talent, the likes of Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano, Erick Gutierrez & Rodolfo Pizarro all came through the academy but nowadays it’s not just ‘home grown’ talent they’re producing they now have the ability to attract the top talented youngsters because of the investment of Carlos Slim, the former richest man in the world.

In Football Manager:

Transfer Budget £3.8m | Wage Budget £305k p/w

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Hopefully that gives you some food for thought, please let us know if you start a save with any of the teams or have had experience with them.

@FMDoop decided to start a new save with Malaga after reading this, you can see how he gets on via his Twitch channel