Football Manager Journeys #4: The Hunt for Glory Begins!
Hi, I got so annoyed with my chairman in Mexico, I went and started a new save. We’re in Italy. Inter Milan. And this is a glory hunter save. What is a Glory Hunter save I hear you? Well, it’s a concept created by Dr Benjy (of FM YouTube and Streamer Showdown fame) whereby you need to win the leagues and cups in the top five leagues in Europe plus the European trophies, plus the World Cup and the Euros. In twenty years. It’s tough. However there are a couple of things in Glory Hunter that would just annoy me. Imagine you’re stuck needing just the French Cup and you’re in France, year in, year out, for five-six years just trying to grind out a cup win that never happens. It would drive me insane, honestly. So, my Glory Hunter is slightly different.
In my version I need to win ten league titles in the twenty years including the “Big Five”. I don’t have to win each of those leagues respective domestic cup trophies but I do need to win at least five domestic cups over the twenty years. Plus all the Continental competitions for a total of 18 leagues and cups over 20 years. Seeing as the traditional Glory Hunter is 14 trophies, albeit with the International ones thrown in there, I’ve given myself a slightly tougher challenge. Dropping International football is mainly a time issue. Playing through seasons with added International games is one of the things that slowed down my seasons on previous FM versions.
START TEAM: INTER MILAN
On the original Glory Hunter that Benjy did for FM20 he started at Inter Milan and I’ve been itching to try out my formation with the Inter side because I think Lukaku, Lautaro, Eriksen, Barella, De Vrij and Skriniar is an incredible backbone for it. The wide areas are less good but they’re also less key to how my formation works. Here’s the starting XI:
In reality, over the course of the season, Darmian didn’t play much with Kolarov and Ashley Young alternating at left back. Young because he’s a better IWB and Kolarov because he fucking rules. Everything else my starting XI though.
REGISTRATION IS A BITCH
My first issue at Inter is discovering, or rather remembering, that you’re only allowed 25 players in your squad and four of them have to be homegrown or you’re screwed. My first squad doesn’t include Alexis Sanchez and boy is he not happy about it…so I loaned him back to Arsenal!
He looks amazing. He’d walk into any team I’ve had on the game so far but honestly, Inter Milan is a team full of sensational footballers. The kind of players I would sell my grandmother to get at Dorados or Centro Atletico Fenix or Vancouver. Serie A is an entirely different beast. When looking at players who could actually improve my team there were precious few. Plus one of my non-homegrown slots had been taken up by this man:
That’s right, Lord Bendtner has arrived! Was this a banter signing, encouraged by the chat on my twitch stream? (I stream FM on Twitch.tv/arnfurious) Yes. Yes, it was. Were the fans upset with my transfer dealing here? Yes, yes they were. Was it funny? Yes! So everything is ok.
THE SEASON BEGINS
We start strong, shafting Benevento 5-0, Bologna 4-0 and despite a dodgy draw with Atalanta, fucking Napoli 5-1. We vaccinated them. The first real challenge came from PSG in our opening Champion’s League game.
October 21, 2020
INTER MILAN vs PSG
Everything is going great here. Eriksen scores early, Keylor Navas scores an own goal and Eriksen nets again for 3-0. We’re cruising. Mbappe pulls one back and I’m reminded that he’s incredibly frightening. Lukaku nets twice but Neymar scores in between (rinsing D’Ambrosio in the progress). It then gets a bit tasty near the end as Mbappe scores again and Icardi, the treacherous bastard, makes it 5-4. I very nearly ship a late equaliser that could have derailed the entire thing. Luckily we hold on and win.
Final Score: 5-4 Inter!
We follow up with a 2-0 win over Genoa and back to back hammerings in Europe. 4-0 vs. Lokomotiv Moscow and 5-1 against third best group side Benfica. Time for the Milan derby!
November 8, 2020
AC MILAN vs. INTER MILAN
This game was brutal. We basically fought for every ball. There were six bookings before a goal went in. That son of a bitch Zlatan volleyed Milan in front. I felt like I was about to implode on stream. But my teams don’t know when they’re beaten. We fired back with goals from both the front lads. Lautaro first and then Lukaku. 2-1 Inter! Forza Inter! We had an xG of 3.12 vs. 1.04 so I think we deserved it.
Final Score: 2-1 Inter!
November 21, 2020
INTER vs. JUVENTUS
Right on the back of that dramatic turn around we played Juve. This was a Lautaro Martinez masterclass as I waxed lyrical about how much better he is as an advanced forward vs. Pressing forward, which is what I played him as during the Moyes Season 2. He got a hattrick here and menaced Juventus in a game where his strike partner was Nikolas Bendtner. 3-0 Inter!
Final Score: 3-0 Inter!
We moved on to a second thrashing of Benfica, which qualified us for Champion’s League knock outs. A first league defeat followed, away to Cagliari. Which is one of those “FM” things. Sure, I rested a bunch of players but I’ve won games with Brozovic on the field before. Even with Nainggolan AND Bendtner involved. It all went wrong with Kolarov missed a penalty, won by Bendtner, in the first five minutes.
The Champion’s League campaign ended with a group win and we’ve got fucking Bayern Munich in the next round. Bayern fucking Munich. Goddamn it.
We battered Crotone, sort of, 3-2 after D’Ambrosio got sent off after half an hour with us winning 3-1. We beat Parma 1-0 and then this happened…
December 20, 2020
SASSUOLO vs. INTER MILAN
Martinez was absolutely on FIRE here. 30 minutes in we’re winning 3-0 and Lautaro has all of them. Our defence suddenly collapsed a bit and let Caputo in for 3-1. We then exchange a bunch more goals. Martinez gets a double hattrick. Caputo and Berardi both get braces and we finish, wait for it, 7-4 Inter. 7-4. What the fuck?
Final Score: 7-4 Inter!
We beat Fiorentina and then draw with Sampdoria to be top of the league at Christmas!
What happens on stream can be very different to your standard Football Manager save. I still talk about the game a lot but I get guests in to chat. I shop for football shirts. We spent a while in 3Retro looking at old shirts. Eddie talked me into playing the old Gazzetta Football Italia music before the Milan derby.
January 27, 2021
INTER MILAN vs. AC MILAN (Coppa Italia QF)
This is a bit of a nightmare. AC boss the game but neither team score. After Lukaku goes off injured with 4 minutes left Sandro Tonali gives Milan the lead. I’ve basically given up but we get some wonderful false hope from Pinamonti, who just replaced Lukaku, to grab a 90+2 minutes equaliser. We get a goal chalked off for offside and I’m getting déjà vu. It goes to penalties and both Barella and Erikssen miss. Milan go through. I am upset. The chance to knock out a quick cup trophy is gone and Milan were the best team left in the competition. If we’d beaten them we’d have been quids in. Juve and Lazio are both out already.
Final Score: 1-1 (lost on pens)
The “Banana” option leads to me signing Yaya Banana on a free transfer. One thing leads to another and after much giggling we have a bunch of fruit-named players. Banana is joined by Kiwi (no last name), Plum and Mangoes. Micky Mellon isn’t available sadly but I get Ian Mellon in as a sports scientist. “Can you make him a nutritionist” asks Chris Parker in the chat. I wish I could.
This is all interspersed with me talking about role duties and the importance of certain attributes over others. I know shit now! And fruit. “Plum’s in”. Sadly Blackburn wanted £4.4M for Ainsley Pears and Harry Avocado and Frank Blackberry don’t exist. Transfer rules prevented me getting McKenzie Lemon in. I’m working on getting Gambian side Ron Mango as an affiliate. Peter Cherrie refused to join us because he’d only just joined his current team. Have you ever just laughed for half an hour about something really stupid? It’s good for the soul. This is the most fun I’ve ever had on stream. It was better than a Sean Dyche press conference.
After a solid 30 minutes of fucking around we played another game.
February 7, 2021
INTER MILAN vs. ATALANTA
“Oh yeah, we play football, I forgot that part”. Skriniar scores a header from a corner while we continue to debate. This time about whether Inter were in the Champion’s League two years ago. When I get back to the action Lautaro makes it 2-0. Lukaku lifts number three over the keeper and cartwheels away celebrating. There’s no way he cartwheels lads. Atalanta get one back but Lukaku fires in number four. They get another consolation but this was a slaughter.
Final Score: 4-2 Inter
We went on to beat Napoli 2-1, showed people my garden, had a debate about whether Coventry is in the West or East Midlands, invite the chat to a game at Butts Park… and then it was our massive CL knock out game:
February 16, 2021
BAYERN MUNICH vs. INTER MILAN
I play Isco (oh yeah, I signed Isco on loan) on the right side of midfield, completely forgetting that Vidal can play there. It’s a terrible mistake and Sane runs riot down that side until I move Eriksen across to cover. If Sane could shoot Bayern would have scored twice. Lautaro scores early after Manuel Neuer misses a long throw. Early in the second half Lautaro pops up with a second and I still forget about Vidal and bring on Corona on the right side. This time the error costs me a goal.
Final Score: 2-1 Inter
The next game is a crushing 5-0 win over Genoa. A 4.47 xG with 33 shots and 16 on target. It’s a massacre.
February 28, 2021
ROMA vs. INTER MILAN
This is the first of the “Big Five” March fixtures, which I’d decided to do in a big Thursday morning stream. I debate whether we’re good enough and how defensively resilient this Roma team are. The most they’ve conceded in any game is two. Lukaku steals the ball from playmaker Jordan Vertout and smashes it home for 1-0…after 15 seconds. This is when I knew the Big Thursday stream was going to be a success.
Our second goal was pure comedy. Roma’s keeper rolled the ball straight to Lautaro who had a tap in. Roma were so stingy defensively but they fucked it here. The Roma defence, which hadn’t conceded more than two all season then shipped a third. Eriksen.
Final Score: 3-0 Inter
March 6, 2021
INTER MILAN VS. AC MILAN
We’re out for revenge after being knocked out of Coppa Italia by these a-holes. Lukaku smashes in the opener early on and there’s a vibe that we’re going to crush these guys. Lautaro scores an incredible second, chipping the keeper from the edge of the box. Lukaku smashes in a penner for three and although Milan get one back in the second half we get our revenge. As with Roma this was surprisingly easy.
Final Score: 3-1 Inter
March 10, 2021
INTER MILAN vs. BAYERN MUNICH
This is the toughest of games. So I switch to cautious, drop the tempo and defend a 2-1 first leg lead. We almost pass the ball into our own net in the opening ten minutes, which is great for the nerves. They hit us on the break from a corner with Vlasic scoring, and this means I abandon the pre-match plans. Lukaku levels it up. Leroy Sane, who terrorised D’Ambrosio in the first leg, goes off injured. All is well. Lautaro and Lukaku combine again and Big Rom blasts in on his weak foot. A minute later a Kolarov free kick finds Lukaku who drills it home from the angle. With 15 minutes left I allow myself to relax. Emi Buendia fires home from a tight angle to make me worried. With time ticking away Inter finally put the game beyond doubt as Ashley Young pokes home a corner. We’ve beaten Bayern!
Final Score 4-2 Inter
We draw Man Utd in the quarters and will play the winner of Leipzig/Liverpool in the semis if we can get past the Mancunian giants. We pass the board’s request for latter stages of CL football years ahead of schedule.
Juventus inflict our first defeat in 22 games, a 2-1 reversal at their gaff, before we smack Roma again. This time 5-2. Then there’s a dodgy 1-1 with Cagliari, a team we can’t seem to beat. This however takes us through to the final ten league games and the latter stages of the Champion’s League. The league fixtures are relatively straightforward from here on out; Lazio the biggest challenge amongst a sea of mediocre mid-table sides.
And, we’re 10 points clear.
April 6, 2021
MAN UTD vs. INTER MILAN
As I’m debating whether we should go a little more defensive at 0-1 down following a rocket from Tsygankov, Bruno Fernandes scores twice in three minutes and it’s 0-3 at HT. Wonderful. We battle back and effectively ‘draw’ the second half after strikes from Lautaro and Lukaku but Martial scores and we give up a stupid late penalty that Pogba converts. It’s an uphill battle back in Italy and I could have done without a three goal cushion for the Red Devils. “Going for it” at 4-2 down at Old Trafford, probably not a good idea lads.
Final Score: 2-5
April 14, 2021
INTER MILAN vs. MAN UTD
This is all thrills and spills. We’re all over them from the start and Perisic and Lukaku have us 2-0 up. Could we grab a third and go through? Or not? Rashford scores and Lukaku has a penalty saved. Lukaku makes amends though with a rifled third and Eriksen has Inter up 4-1 at HT. With that scoreline we go through. However the second half starts with yet another Bruno goal (he’s so good in this game, it’s sickening) and the goals dry up. 40 minutes of pushing for a winner results in a big fat nothing and we’re out at the quarters. Why can I never win this fucking thing?
Final Score: 4-2 Inter (6-7 on agg)
With that dream over all that’s left to do is clinch the title. Here’s our run of league results after a 1-1 with Cagliari in March. 6-2 vs. Udinese, 3-0 vs. Crotone, 2-2 with Parma (accusations of bottling in the chat), 7-1 vs. Sassuolo, 2-0 vs. Fiorentina and 3-0 vs. Sampdoria. With Milan in desperate need of a win we clinch the title by watching Roma and Milan draw 0-0. It’s over with four in hand and we lift the trophy in Rome after being obliterated 4-0 by Lazio. Everyone clearly hungover at this point.
We finish the season in sluggish fashion. Milan win the Coppa Italia, which makes me feel a bit better about losing to them but it also reminds me we should have won the cup and probably would have if we’d beaten Milan in that shootout. We’re flagged as the competition’s biggest underachievers, which is a real kick in the nuts. Especially as Lazio didn’t make it to the quarters at all.
The Champion’s League culminates in a Manchester derby. Once again reminding me that I should be in the final. A win over Utd would have given us a semi against Leipzig. Totally winnable.
This is how Serie A finished. A huge winning margin and we crushed the league. Shame about the cups but hey, you can’t have it all. It’s great to get off to a winning start and chalk off one of the Big Five league wins.
With Serie A done I opted to quit and see what managerial merry-go-round havoc that would produce. I was not disappointed…