Written by FMCatenaccio
When we think of Madrid, we often look at the likes of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, two Spanish giants, who often battle it out between them with the likes of Barcelona for the Spanish La Liga title. Without research we would probably never know that in the small neighbourhood of Vallecas sits a football club best known as Rayo Vallecano. Having only won a small number of trophies throughout its history, and being some what of a yo-yo club that would often get promoted and relegated to and from La Liga year after year I felt it was time to make a mark in Spanish history.
When searching for a club to manage on Football manager I need to feel the love, the passion and the excitement, the only way I get so into a save is by really knowing the story of the club. It didn’t take long for me to get excited about Rayo, a few minutes of searching on google and YouTube and I was drawn in immediately, the Working class feel, the rough touches of the stadium and the passion from the fans was enough to make me like them.
After a while of searching for a club to manage I came across an interesting video on YouTube about Rayo which really took my interest, the Rayo Vallecano Ultras best known as the “Bukaneros” were loud, passionate and loves a demonstration against the Spanish Football Federation. You can often hear them walking the streets before games protesting and voicing their concerns, and it doesn’t stop once they enter the stadium.
Back in 2013 they staged a mock funeral for “the soul of football” during their 3-0 lose to Valladolid. This is one of many protests the ultras have organised throughout its history. See article for more information regarding this.
If you are like me and you enjoy really digging into a club’s soul before taking the challenge then you will love Rayo, having already touched upon the ultras I highly recommend watching this YouTube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYHi8PudfTE
Now, I’m not claiming to know the club that well, nor do I know the club’s history but I do know they have been fantastic to manage on Football Manager. They start in La Liga tipped to struggle, minimal finances to work with, a small stadium to fill, facilities aren’t great and the standard of players is pretty average, but don’t let all this put you off the challenge.
This is what I like to look at when searching for my next club, the small details play a huge role when I’m deciding who I want to manage, everything from what the stadium looks like to what the kit design is.
I’ve briefly touched upon this above but I will go over it in more detail:
I was looking for a team that could offer me a challenge on and off the field, I wanted to build a club not a team. Everything from the facilities to the staff needed a huge revamp but doing so on a financial budget smaller than most English league 1 teams was going to be difficult but that’s exactly what I was going for, a long term save where I built the clubs foundations from scratch and make them into a Spanish giant while pissing on my rivals Real Madrid.
I started the with setting myself targets that I wanted to accomplish each year, this kept me focused, motivated and organised during the heavy seasons of struggle.
Some of the short-term targets that I would set myself are;
Manage Staff (Focus on scouts)
Set up monthly training schedules
Clear deadwood from both first team and B team
Long Term Focus
Compete with the rivals (Real and Atletico Madrid)
Qualify for Europa League & Champions league
Improve all facilities starting with training and youth
Working with a very limited budget while trying to achieve those longer term targets meant that I needed to take recruitment very serious, I couldn’t afford to spend money on players that I weren’t 100% sure about, It was important that I had the right people scouting for me.
I decided early on that I was going to take an interest in youth and wanted to build a team with as many top quality youth players as possible, this meant that I needed to hunt them down first. At the beginning I only had 5 scouts, so I decided to send them to countries where the talent pool is good but they are very undervalued, such as Serbia, Romania and Poland, when comparing the price tags to the major hitters in Europe and South America these three are considerably less so it made sense to focus on the “Less Valued” countries.
When I first saw the Campo de Fútbol de Vallecas I fell in love, it had a “hipster” vibe with both goal ends being very different to one another. One end we overlook the city of Madrid and on a sunny day it’s a brilliant view.
While the other side has a slightly more “Ultra” feel about it, being a wall with two blocks of flats overlooking the ground. This was actually the side that I loved, there is nothing beautiful about it, but that’s what I liked, it’s not glamorous and very rarely do you see selfie sticks like you would at Santiago Bernabéu but that’s what they thrive on, it’s a real working-class community and the supports of Rayo only have one love in their lives.
This is no tourist attraction, it’s a football club for the fans and in my case for Football Manager.
When starting off as Rayo manager you will not be to impressed with the budget in place, in fact it may scare you a little when you see clubs around you spending big but don’t let this put you off, in fact over recent years the TV money has certainly improved for the likes of Rayo and other such small clubs in Spain so you may be broke early on but within a season expect to receive a nice sum and of course the more success you bring the more money you earn!
Read more about the Spanish TV deal:
However, its not all bad news, you do have a few gems sitting around the club that can certainly help you both on and off the pitch.
De Tomas is one of the leading stars at Rayo who showed great quality over the course of an impressive 4 seasons (managed to renew his loan each year) Only having to pay 18k a week for a Real Madrid striker isn’t a bad deal.
The second player is Velazques, a solid CB who enjoys the ball at his feet (to a certain degree) He was my best defender by a mile and also has a good value hanging over him if you were in need of some cash.
Now there isn’t bags of talent at Rayo but they do have Santi, a very good-looking young man with piercing blue eyes, and bang average attributes for a La Liga player but he does put a shift in, and although the attributes are pretty standard, he knows how to score a long! Someone with potential to grow and also has a decent value hanging over his head.
Remember you don’t have a lot of money, so make sure you really plan your recruitment, there are plenty of players available to recruit for small fees, make the most of it.
I can’t butter this up no matter what I say, the media think your down.
I personally think this is bullshit, comparing Rayo’s team to some of the teams above you I really do think you can easily stay up, make sure you come prepared, have a style of play that you wish to implement and get into that loan market! I started my first season with 14 quality loan deals.
I hope you enjoyed reading this brief article on Rayo Vallecano and I hope it inspires you to take on the challenge yourself. It’s a brilliant club to manage and if you’re like me who likes to build a story around your save, you will love it.
If you want to read more of FMCatenaccio’s work head over to his blog.