FM Journey’s: FM22 S7, Aston Villa S4
After winning the league and the Champion’s League in our third year at Villa Park there was a temptation to move. That said I am playing this as if it’s my actual job and there’s no way I’d leave a top team just as I’d got them to the summit. Everything should be so much easier now. My main concern was teams coming in for my players. Early offers included £84M from PSG for Luka Romero. He was annoyed he couldn’t go but understood he’d agreed to a £100M release clause and wouldn’t be leaving unless that was met. So, here we are. Inter offer me £43M for Nicola Zalewski and I’m not keen on shipping him out. My only real problem positions are goalkeeper and right back. In goal I offer Ajax £20.5M for Andre Onana. He’s been on loan with us for two years and is basically a Villa player anyway so he’s in. Bobby Adeyemi signs permanently. That’s our Big Man striker sorted. At right back…I guess Tzanakakis can play there?
A quick glance at my staff. On board at the moment are Rui Costa, David Trezeguet, Marcelo Bielsa and Joachim Low and that’s just my scouts. I’m now allowed 16 scouts, so I’ve signed like four more. As for additional players I was looking at a few. Kulusevski was interested but didn’t want a loan move. So, that fell through because his value is something stupid like £85M. Instead, we look at Heung-Min Son who has just left Spurs. I was debating it when Man Utd made a bid so why the fuck not? Francisco Trincao and Fabinho (not that one) are also potential loan moves.
Here’s Fabinho, or FAB as I call him. Great physicals. Really quick, good engine. Can play either flank or at AMC. Trincao decided he didn’t want to come to us, and Sonny signed for Man Utd. Man City steal one of my youth players and I take it surprisingly well, renaming him “moody teenage prick”.
After winning the UEFA Super Cup (and bottling the Community Shield on penalties) I’m actually into the Hall of Fame! Amazing the progress you make on these things when you win five trophies in one calendar year.
A lot of these guys should be a breeze to get by. Cloughy and his two European Cups might be a bit of a challenge. Likewise Bob Paisley and his six league titles/three European Cups. Champion’s League group draw is a little less worrying when you’re seeded #1. We draw Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon and Dynamo Kyiv. I’m perfectly content with that. We knocked Dortmund out last year and it was pretty easy. There is no real group of death either. It feels like our universe has completed a reset. We’re confirmed as big dogs. Of Dortmund’s team only Jude Bellingham would make our starting XI. The other two, I would take none of their players. Kyiv have just sold their star striker Borja Bayoral to Southampton, which about sums up how overpowered the Premier League is in this game (and the world in general).
Having spent basically none of my summer transfer budget deadline day is a bit mad. I consider offers for several marquee players but settling on Declan Rice. The central midfielder that I really need. Camavinga and Sambi Lokonga are both good but we need to level up in central midfield. Rice is our boy. Plus, he’s home grown. His arrival means Albert Sambi Lokonga is on his way. Juventus give me £37M for a player I bought for £7.25M just two years ago. I’ll always love him, but I’ve levelled up above Albert sadly. Norwich come in for Palacios on loan and I start to panic about the lack of full back options and get Benjamin Pavard in from Man Utd on loan. Palacios rejects the move because of course he does.
Every single game this season we’ve conceded two goals or more. We’ve suddenly forgotten the basics of defending. This leads to a bizarre exit in the Carabao Cup at home to Millwall in the first round (well, third but first we’d played). This in a game where I literally stopped paying attention because it was so one-sided. Camavinga scored an absolutely worldy for 2-0 as well. It looks like the winter update has nerfed my tactic.
We win our next game 4-2 at Anfield to go back on top. It took two goals in the last minute to make it look that convincing so there’s definitely still issues with the way the game behaves. It’s not right how dominant we are in games and not getting the results. We’ve been way better than almost all our recent opponents for scores of 3-2, 2-3, 3-3, 3-2, 2-2 and 4-2. The Villa Thrillers!
The goals keep flowing and after ten games we’re flying.
With the odd weird result thrown in. This seems to happen a lot. They have three highlights and score three goals. We have 20 highlights and score three goals. All of our forwards miss sitters they would normally bury. Is there a cap on the number of goals we’re allowed or something? Should I play for more 1-0’s?
Form returns and we coast into the knock outs for the CL. We’ve got Leipzig, having humbled Dortmund in the groups. The only scary thing about Leipzig is they signed Dusan Vlahovic. Since signing from Spurs (yes) he’s averaged 22 goals in the Bundesliga. He would easily get into my team to partner Adeyemi. None of the rest of their players would. Speaking of Bobby…
He’s only won the fuckin’ Ballon d’Or. He’s only the best player in the fucking world. 47 goals in 46 games. I couldn’t vote for him but I certainly would have done. Absolute don. Him winning has popped an achievement called “Best in the World”.
Here’s the table for the end of the year. We’re absolutely flying. Only lost twice so far, Spurs and Chelsea away. While Chelsea and Liverpool are in touch everyone else is already finished. We’ve got 20 points on the Manchester teams and Arsenal. Newcastle are having a stinker and have just appointed former Villa boss Luis Enrique. Leicester are right down the bottom and have fired Jose Mourinho. Other wacky managers; Nuno is at Arsenal and Rafa Benitez at Leeds. Spurs boss? Ole! Man U just fired Dragan Stojkovic after two years in charge.
So, I asked the lads to get revenge against Tottenham. They did. 8-0. Hahaha. Sensational. How do we celebrate? Next three games we win nothing. A draw with Newcastle, a loss to Man City and knocked out the FA Cup by Burnley in a game where we had three goals disallowed and two players sent off. I’m honestly not making that up…
Next game is a disaster. We’re 2-0 up and cruising against Liverpool. Way, way ahead of them in all respects and it somehow finishes 3-3. Meanwhile Chelsea are losing 2-0 at Palace at half time and somehow win that game 3-2. If we lose the title race it’s because of this game. I throw a water bottle and THEY’RE NOT EVEN MAD AT ME. That’s when you know the players know they fucked it up. We have a host of injuries too. Tzanakakis, Camavinga, Romero all long term. Moloi, our left back, has been hurt half the season and can’t get fit. It’s suddenly all going wrong. We had an 11 point lead at Christmas. It’s now early February and it’s 1 point. ONE.
In the midst of this misery, and a 3-0 loss to Leipzig that basically ends our attempts to retain the Champion’s League, we have an actual honest to god takeover happening.
Of course, this cunt’s from Qatar. I can’t wait for all my TV interviews to ask me about deaths at the World Cup. Just let us build something up without oil money coming into play here. Fuck’s sake.
After a wobble in February where everything seemed to go wrong and we dropped points all over the shop. Not to mention going out of the FA Cup and nearly going out of the Champion’s League. March is a time of stability. Two out of two in the league plus a 5-0 drubbing of RB Leipzig to survive in Europe. You may notice I bought Victor Osimhen. They gave me £70M to spend in January!
CL draw is relatively kind. We have Juventus. Then it’s either Chelsea or Bayern. On the other side of the draw it’s Liverpool vs. Lazio and Real vs. PSG. A repeat of last years Villa vs. Real final is on.
The new board are…arseholes. They are here…disappointed with a slender margin of victory against an inferior team. A dramatic 5-0 second leg win against Leipzig. One of the most incredible comebacks I’ve ever seen on FM. That was disappointing to them. Increasingly I’m debating leaving at the end of the season. My contract is for another season. I’m definitely not renewing.
Hello! £188M! I’d like to apologise to my Qatari overlords. Qatar is a lovely place and hardly any people died during the construction of World Cup stadia. Purely an exaggeration. With seven games left in this season we’re guaranteed to finish in the top three and hopefully champions as we’re seven clear.
Just working on my Arabic boot licking. I was going to quit but £188M is a lot of dollar. A bit more dollar comes from thrashing Juventus 4-1 in the QFs of the Champion’s League. Leipzig was a ridiculous comeback. We didn’t need that versus Juve. Comfortable. It’s Bayern Munich in the semis. In the other one it’s Liverpool vs. PSG, who dumped Real out.
With Chelsea only four points behind us in the league we need to avoid defeat in our home game. It’s not going great after 25 minutes. We’re 0-1 down and Declan Rice has gone and got himself sent off. Straight red. Two footed lunge. No problem. I leave us on attacking and we just wreck Chelsea’s shit. Adeyemi is unplayable. The Akerman goal was blatantly offside and they drew the lines in the wrong place but we still merked them. That win leaves us seven points clear with four games left. Two wins against Burnley, Palace, West Ham and Southampton and we retain our title. Not easy games but it could be much tougher.
We hammer Burnley 3-0. 10 points clear now. All on Chelsea. In the Champion’s League we face off against Bayern. After conceding very early at home Remy Lagadec takes it personally and scores four goals in the second half in an astonishing 5-2 mauling of the German champions. Next up is Palace and a draw is enough for back to back title wins. However I’ve got a worrying number of injuries. Victor Osimhen’s season is over after tearing his hammy. Nicola Zalewski has an ankle injury, Fabinho broke his toe (and is out for the season, wtf) and Erik Sergio has a groin strain. Wear and tear baby, wear and tear. For the Palace game I’ve also got three players suspended, which is what happens if you get two players sent off in the same game. We struggle to a laboured 2-1 win against a decent Palace team but that’s enough for our second title, which is full on confirmed when Chelsea lose to Man City.
We’ve won at a canter there. After slapping West Ham 5-1 we have a record number of goals in a season. 133. We do not fuck around here. Just to show everyone we are the greatest entertainers in the world we finish with a 5-5 draw with Southampton, in which Victor Emerson and Joe Willock both score hattricks. It’s Danny Ings final game and he checks out with two goals. Celebrating neither as he still loves the Saints. What a guy. He’s now retired.
To the Champion’s League final then. It’s a doozy. A repeat of the 4-2 win in the league from earlier in the season. Mbappe again terrorises our defence until I drop our line a bit. No more space for you mate. Remy Lagadec scores an insane fourth goal in stoppage time where he runs from inside his own half and smacks it in from 30 yards on his weak foot. Hashtag scenes. In doing so he steals CL golden boot from Mbappe was, up to that point, was ahead on assists.
Progress has clearly been made. The board want me to ‘carry on being the biggest club in the world’ (or words to that effect) and the team are actually happy in the end of season team meeting when I say we’re going to win the league.
The new stadium is being built and that wanker Ahmed Mohammed has actually named it after himself. The ego on that man. The capacity is going to be 62,522, which is better than expected. Initial plans suggested something in the 50-55k range.
Normally I’d hang around and do a bit of a summer start update but two things; 1. It’s the Euros so I have to prepare for those bad boys. 2. I’ve put in an offer for Ansu Fati for £120M and it’s been accepted.
NEXT: Euro 2028 Special!