As Football Manager 2017 approaches and a few of the bloggers I like in the community are unveiling their plans for the new version, I felt I would do the same. I’m fairly new to the community and only really started blogging on this version, however I have had some great interaction with many bloggers who I respect and the #WeAreTheCommunity definitely helped in terms of smaller bloggers gaining more recognition.
I had two series in Parma and Rangers, in the Parma series I received some excellent comments even from a die hard Parma supporter which I felt was rewarding as he wished me to keep going with it, sadly that save was corrupted (auto save is now always in play). With Parma I was playing on a database inlcuding Serie D etc and we had made it to Serie B so it was pretty gutting to lose it.
I then went to Rangers in Scotland and also the team I support, I probably undertook this too quickly after the Parma failure and after a couple of seasons I had lost interest in the save and also in FM slightly at this point in time.
An aim for the blog going forward will be to be more consistent in uploading and to have a long series on the new version, I deliberated a bit about who to manage but my decision has been made for a while now. I enjoyed an offline save with Leeds so was tempted with them or Coventry – two English clubs in disarray especially off field.
However more and more recently I have been enjoying German football more, the culture that has been maintained there and the way the football supporters are treated in comparison to British football and especially supporters of my own football club is worlds apart where the Offensive Behaviour at Football act in Scotland criminalises football supporters.
I then watched a few documentaries on German football clubs St Pauli and Union Berlin and felt the latter clubs history was so interesting and the basis of defending fans and the fan culture to appeal very much to me – so Union Berlin will be the team I will blog about and I am aiming for this to be a long blog/save in terms of 10-15 seasons hopefully.
Union currently play in 2. Bundesliga, the tier below the Bundesliga (I’m sure that was clearly obvious) and they have never played in the “Bundesliga” however interestingly did appear in the old Uefa cup in 2001-2002 season after reaching the German cup final being defeated by Schalke.
Union have went through some financial troubles especially in the 90s and early 2000s despite being run well now, after winning their division in both 1993 and 1994 each time they were denied a license to play in the 2. Bundesliga due to their financial problems. The club also had another close brush with financial failure in 1997. A club who has had financial issues in the past is always something I find interesting to make the club stable financially as there is that duty to make it viable and secure going forward for future generations.
In May 2004, the supporters raised enough money to secure the club’s license for fourth-division football through a campaign called ‘Bleed for Union’ supporters went to blood banks, in Germany you get paid for doing so and they then transferred the money to the club.
Then in 2008 the club stadium “Stadion An der Alten Försterei” only had 3 sides, no roof, they had to renovate to stay there so the supporters came together to help – 2,500 supporters put in 140,000 working hours both with know how and those who just wanted to help. Stadion An der Alten Försterei holds 22,012 people with just 3,617 seats with the rest terracing creating a fantastic atmosphere. Based in Berlin, there may be potential for stadium expansion or a new much larger stadium if we have continued elevated success due to scope of the city.
In 2012 the German DFB tried to introduce new regulation which included banning of pyrotechnics, stringent banning orders, removal of standing terraces (top 36 clubs voted on this) and Union were the only club to vote against it as they wanted to speak to their members (12,000 strong) first and didn’t want to treat their supporters as criminals aka British football.
All in all this makes this football club very special and my aims for the series will be to create strong foundations so the club never hits any problems financially again, to be promoted to the Bundesliga within a couple of seasons and then long term, the aim will be to see if we can break the dominant force of German football and dismantle Bayern Munich – although this is easier said than done.
I also feel I often forego homegrown players in favour of cheaper foreigners and this slightly goes against Union principles so will be aiming to have a strong German basis throughout the squad.
A key aspect of doing this will be the incredible prize money gifted in German football and a fair distribution of money unlike in Spain where Barcelona and Real Madrid have such unfair control. In 2. Bundesliga for winning the league you get £8 million and £51 million for winning the Bundesliga, £28 million for a respectable 8th placed finish.
On a lasting note when the full version of Football Manager 2017 is released early November my blog of Union will be likely split into either two or three blog updates per season, a focus on the tactical identity I wish to implement, style of manager I wish to be and I also aim to be as consistent as possible with my content.