So, many of you know that I am big soccer fan, and am damn good at Fifa 11. I have played through about 30 years of career modes, from the Sounders to Manchester United, to Liverpool, to Arsenal, to Barcelona, to Real Madrid, to Chivas de Guadalajara, to Werder Bremen, to Ajax to West Ham....a ton of stuff.
To be honest it gets a little boring demolishing each those leagues year after year...so I decided to start over, and start low and crappy. Its one thing to take a team at the bottom of the EPL (West Ham) and turn them into Champions League winners. I decided to take Championship side Leicester City and bring them back to the top flight and beyond.
I am currently in year two the project so let me get you caught up to speed.
I was really underwhelmed with the talent of the roster, I had a striker who was decent but was unhappy with all 4 midfield positions and the majority of the back line. Honestly the best player on the team was my player/manager created pro "Smurf" followed by my buddies created pro. Now, before I get accused of cheating with these Created Players let me spell out what type of players they are. Smurf is a Central midfielder but has been deployed in every position on the field except goalkeeper in previous lives (in all those seasons noted above). At his best position, Central Attacking Mid, he is only an 83. I put him on at the Right Mid (80 OVR) due to his reasonable speed, 86. The other created player, Dylan, is a burner striker. His speed is 94, and his acceleration a 95. He is extremely raw though. Only a 74 at Striker.
I tried the first few games (3 pre-season friendlies and the first 2 league games) trying out different formations and different players. I really didn't like what I had, and only had about $1.5 million to spend in the transfer window. I also wasted a good month of my 2 month pre-season transfer window trying to find a formation only to settle back into the 4-4-2. I needed and injection of younger talent to grow with. Unfortunately with only 1.5 million there is not a lot you can do in the transfer market. I was able to sell some older players and loan out some low rated youngsters. It saved me some wage budget and netted me some more money to spend. I would estimate it was about 3.5 million I ended up with.
I didn't want t0 make one big splash with a $3.5 million dollar talent so instead invested in younger players and brining in players on loan. Most of the talent I wanted from europe couldnt be had at a reasonable price, and I wanted players that I had used before, even in a pick up game. So I turned to the MLS. I brought over from the Sounders Alonso, Tetteh, Hurtado and Carrasco. I failed miserably on a bid for Montero and Zakuani. All of those players became starters immediately. I also brought in on loan Manchester United striker Macheda after failing loan bid for Jack Wilshire.
We started the year alright, sat about mid table after 10 games. management was worried about my roster turnover and they told me take it easy with the selling of long term players with the club. With the window closed at this point all I could do was keep my team's stamina fresh and try and play the inform players. I also had the Carling Cup and F.A. Cup competitions to think about. Obviously the goal was to finish top 6 and try for a promotion to the EPL, but I would gladly take the funding that came with a Carling cup of F.A. Cup victory.
I was nearly knocked out in my first round of the Carling cup by Charlton of a lower division. I was saved by an 89th minute own goal that tied the game up. I won it on penalties. I was pissed. thought about dumping the Carling Cup and F.A. cup by essentially throwing the reserves out the next game. I wanted to keep my starters fresh for league play. I wanted to get to the EPL.
I focused on the league and moved up to 3rd after about 2 months of games. My reserves were also winning in the Carling and F.A. Cup. I took down the mighty Leeds in both competition, and then Wolves in both. I was making headway, but was getting to the teams my reserves were outclassed by. The January window was open and I took my winnings form each round of the tournaments to secure Steve Zakuani form the sounders. Finally I had 2 outside midfielders with pace. I was on fire with Zak in the squad.
I was in the quarter final of the Carling cup against Manchester City. I threw the reserves out there thinking maybe I could hold out for PK's. Yep, that was my plan. PK's. They were on top of the EPL by 5 points at that point. I beat them 2-1. Into the Semi's.
I found myself at the end of the season 1st in the league, clear by a single point over Leeds and Nottingham Forrest (Forrest had a higher GD and was 2nd, Leeds fell in the promotion playoff). I won the Carling Cup against Arsenal and Won the F.A. cup on PK's against Manchester United. I had some more funds to work with and better yet was in the EPL.
I brought in some more players, mostly former Arsenal players who I signed on free transfers. Gibbs, Frimpong, and Szczesny to put in goal. I bolstered the squad the cheap way and made a big splash by buying Newcastle Striker Andy Carroll for 7 million (Macheda went back to United).
I am only about a 2 months into the season and am still alive in 4 competitions, the EPL, Carling Cup, F.A. Cup and the Europa League (Champions League light). I am still working with limited funds but I am hanging in there against games against the best. Beat Man City 1-0, tied United 2-2, and lost a burner with Arsenal 5-4.
This is my top 18:
Backline: Gibbs, Hurtado, Bellusci, Tetteh
Mid: Smurf, Alonso, Frimpong, Zakuani
Forwards: Dylan, Carroll
Winger: Nyarko (from Chicago Fire)
CAM: Yilmaz (on loan)
If Szczesny ever went down with an injury or red card I would thrust smurf into the GK role.
As of right now I am sitting second in the league on 21 points, Tied with both clubs form Manchester. Everton is on top with 22. Arsenal and Chelsea are both sitting on 20. I am definitely out classed in this fight, but maybe I can hold out for a top 4 finish. Then again, I have 2 games in hand. Dylan is the leading goal scorer at 13, Carroll third at 8.
We shall see how this goes. I doubt I will be making any transfers in the January window...its October and I only have $10k to spend and only $1,400 left in wage budget. I have what I have and need to keep the lads healthy.