Football Manager Journeys: FM22 Season #3 CD Mafra in Liga NOS!!!
So, we got promoted. Football Manager seems to think we have no chance of staying up. I get an email saying we’re going to get £2.5M for TV rights this season. Excellent. When exactly though? I’m fucking broke here. The summer rumbles on and no money is forthcoming. I lose three first team players who I simply can’t afford to sign to contracts. Help me TV money, you’re my only hope*.
*Spoiler: this money never turns up.
The opening game of the season is a cup game and I’m suddenly made aware that you need two Portuguese U21 players in the starting XI. I don’t have any. I end up drafting in Diniz and Barbosa from the last youth intake. They are both awful. Like, legitimately awful. I didn’t want to sign them. So now we’re carrying two players. We edge it 2-0 in the first round but the same rules apply for the whole competition, so we’re boned and lose at home in the next round. Speaking of boned…
They had elections and Joao Santos comes in. He’s said he’ll buy two players so those bids are in. Even if he manages to buy these two guys, there’s literally no wage budget but he wants me to work within a wage budget. I don’t get what he’s up to. Jan Bamert would have cost £160,000 but thankfully has no interest in signing and we don’t have to spend money we don’t have.
Aside from Al-Barri who our new chairman bought I’ve gone the Zealand route and it’s LOOOOOOOAAANS. LOOOOOOOOANS! You got to get those free loans. I’m paying zero money for four players to give me some depth.
After four games we had played some really nice football and scored at least two goals in every game. Also, bottom of the league.
The sheer number of Silva’s in Portugal are incredible. Three quarters of my starting back line against Familicao are named Silva*. After failing to win all season I get the dreaded “faces the sack” email suggesting that failure in the next fixture would mean me getting fired. We win 5-0 against Santa Clara. The trouble I have here is that we don’t play any differently in this game than all the rest. Santa Clara just miss their chances and we take ours. What do I change if we can win games this comfortably in this division?
*The screenshot above comes from later in the season when I’d secured a fourth Silva and my entire back line in one games was Silvas. Wall to wall Silvas!
The result of a day of contemplation (I was at work, what else would I be doing) I decided to do a tweaked version of my main tactic. Instead of an AMC Andrezinho drops into an advanced playmaker role in central midfield. Both wingers and full backs switch to support from attack duties. The first time I play it we’re really good for 45 minutes and then get slapped 3-0 by Belenenses. However the two tactics do both work and we win five games out of six. Our best run of form this season. Two of those games may be against lower division teams in the cup…
As you can see, I have a target and that’s to beat all these other basic bitches. If I can beat the likes of Arouca, Pacos de Ferreira, Santa Clara and fellow promoted sides Penafiel and Academico de Viseu, we should be good. The target is 30 points. It would have been safe last season. Beat these guys twice each and we’ll be safe. We have picked up points elsewhere and I’m happy with wins over Santa Clara, Viseu and Pacos recently. When we’re playing Porto and Benfica we’ll do our best but if we lose…it’s not a big issue. That’s not our fight.
This being 2022 there’s an enormous mid-season break for the World Cup in Qatar. Some notes from the World Cup:
- Holland were the only big side that failed to get out of the group stage.
- Qatar made it to the knock outs but lost to Brazil
- Belgium knocked out Germany and Brazil!
- Semis are Nigeria vs. France and Belgium vs England
- NIGERIA BEAT FRANCE 3-0. Victor Osimhen balon d’or incoming
- Belgium beat England. Always the bridesmaid Gareth.
Alex Iwobi having a goal disallowed in the World Cup final seems very wrong.
I was going to leave but hell yeah, if we suddenly become the greatest youth team in the country I’m fucking staying. I must admit I spent my World Cup looking at possible moves. I did strongly consider going to either Shrewsbury or AFC Wimbledon but I don’t want to go to England just yet. Stoke randomly offer me a job interview. That’s a hard no, lads.
The January transfer window saw us squeeze a little extra juice from the board but on the field there were not results to back it up. We kept playing well and losing. The frustration of completely battering a team and losing 4-3 because we don’t have good players is palpable. My tactics remain the same. We just need to beat the other bad teams. Arouca, Pacos, Santa Clara, Academico and Penafiel. We beat those boys, we stay ahead of them, we stay up.
I’ve developed a new way of maintaining good club atmosphere. If anyone is upset I just yeet them into the B team. There we go. Problem solved. It’s also a great way to switch captain without upsetting anyone. Stick the captain in the B team. Change the captain, because you have to, and then say the B team move was a mistake and get your guy back. Only he’s not the captain anymore and no one is mad at you. 4D chess.
February works out great. I’m aiming for around a point a game. Five games in February. I target a win against Penafiel and hope for draws with Famalicao and Tondela. Not only do we do all that we also upset Vitoria de Guimaraes 3-2. We end February with P23 W6 D7 L11. Points: 25. I think 30 will be enough to stay up this year. A couple of wins in March and we’ll be laughing and can coast to the end of the season.
As we enter March we are 3-1 down at half time versus Santa Clara. I’m so angry I go full water bottle. We come back to win 4-3 and pop the “Comeback King” achievement. Andrezinho scores twice, misses a pen and still has time to set up the winner. Both the goals were absolute worldies too. What a player. Another top tip re; loans. I’ve got five players on loan this season. Simply because I had no money to turn my players into a squad. So I got a bunch of free loans under the requirement that they play regularly. Well, I’m not playing any of them. It’s my bench. Any time someone comes in to complain I simply say they’re not in form and they back down.
Fulham are in for me. I attend the interview and refuse to join until the season is over. Do I really want to go to Fulham? Not really but there’s potential there. They are rich. I could do my wonderkid build there no worries. I could build a trial farm and wire the world. Mafra have such limited scope. I end up spending the entire day at work thinking about the move. What it comes down to is that while Fulham is a good opportunity, I don’t feel it’s one that I need to take now. If Mafra continues to be a dead end then I can just quit and go somewhere else. Plus the prospect of going to the English leagues after two seasons is somewhat unattractive. This is supposed to be an adventure. So, I’m staying put. At least until the summer.
To celebrate we absolutely batter Porto. Like completely play them off the pitch. Best performance of the season. We lose 3-2. To finish with a flourish we rinse Braga 5-3 in a thriller. Our xG is HALF what it was against Porto. Give me my win against Porto!
We go nuts after we’re safe. Smashing goals in. Outscoring everybody. It’s such a fun team to watch. They don’t give a fuck.
We finish mid-table. Considering we were heavily tipped to go down and the two teams that came up with us were slaughtered at this level, I’ll take that. The big question is where do we go from here? Is this the best Mafra can do? I’m inclined to think that this is as good as it gets. We can’t bring in elite tier young players to sell on for profit. The best we can hope for is grinding our way up the table over about ten years. So, I’m intending on staying BUT I’m also eyeballing the job centre this summer.
End of season meeting. What did I say to cause such outrage? “We should stay up next year”.
NEXT: Mafra S3…or perhaps something completely different.