Monday saw the next in our series of chats with the writers for Tempo on the FM Slack channel. This week was with the pioneer behind the FM Slack and occasional writer for HTP FM_Samo.
The first part of the questioning related to the FM Slack and the community in general. FM_Adventure, fresh from his latest exploits with Kosovo, asked when you decided to start up the FM Slack did you envisage it become the hub for FM content that it has become? Do you think it can become bigger and better; if so, how?
While I did set up #FMSlack, I 100% can’t claim the original idea was mine. Firstly, Slack got adopted as our primary method of communication at work, so I’ve been using it on a daily basis for about 2 years now. However, the first time I came across a Slack and FM crossover was actually from @thenorthman and the old FMCentral! I think I’d spotted them Tweeting about it once or twice, joined up knowing how awesome Slack was from work, to only find a handful of people in there, including Paul himself, Ryan and the other FMC guys. I pestered Paul for weeks to try and stick some effort behind promoting it and getting more people to join it, but for some reason, he wasn’t having it 🙂 it fizzled out (I think it might have even been 2015!), and it wasn’t until really late last year that Slack and FM started coming up in a few conversations I was having again. The other FMers I was chatting to seemed really keen on the idea, and were behind it from the start.
5 months later we’re here with over 820 having chosen to join it! It’s slightly mental, I was delighted when 10 people joined, when 20 did. I never expected this many people to want to join up. One important thing to note, and why I keep saying number joined instead of members, is because quite a big proportion of the number aren’t using it as much as a good number of people that are. People have joined, and have either decided it’s not for them (which is absolutely fine), have been scared off initially because it’s too confusing, haven’t realised there’s a desktop or mobile app you can download to easily keep up with the channels you’re interested in or one thing or another. I’d love to try and convince a few of the people who aren’t using it to come back and give it another shot, and I’d love more people to keep wanting to join too! Can it become bigger and better? Of course, but it does rely on the people using it and enjoying it to shout about it! Its how this many people have decided to join so far.
Cleon asked a couple of questions via Twitter, firstly how has Slack lived up to your expectations for the FM community?
It’s probably surpassed them overall tbh! There’s always a discussion, a debate, a heated argument going on across the community. On Twitter, on Facebook, on YouTube comments, on the various forums. At the end of the day, we’re all talking about something we love, Football Manager. A game. Slack’s been no different so far! Yes there’s been a few arguments and disagreements, but I’d be worried if there hadn’t been any.
People might join expecting huge numbers to be interested in what they’re doing, it’s not really about that for me. It’s about maybe 1 or 2 people (more if you’re lucky) being really invested in an area they’re interested about and engaging with others who are too.
Yeah, some channels thrive with 3 or 4 talking, others not so much. Same with everything I guess.
Dan Gear (@dgear86) asked his first question of the night with What saves of others have been your favourites to follow & why?
There’s been loads! I loved @thehighertempo’s Boys of Bilbao save, so it’s good to see him doing that again in Dortmund, plus pretty much anything that goes on to #thehighertempopress too. @fmpressure’s Auxerre save was awesome. Of course, @keysirensie is just doing ridiculously at Reading. This might appear again, but I’m a sucker for a save in Scotland so @johnmcintosh19’s Rangers save and @the_metodo_fm’s Falkirk save are ones I love following along with too. I was a big advocate of #tastethefeeling / @reids! @marcbowen17’s Espanyol save was great. Then there’s been a benefit of Slack which has meant you can follow along with saves you might not have had the chance to get as close to previously! @dlp-ed on #dlped gives us his own RBL updates, @dgear86 on #dgear86boliviasave himself in Bolivia and @jmpenetra on #ballwinningpenetra! I’ve probably forgotten quite a few in there too. I do try and watch stuff on YouTube too, but it’s such a huge time investment. @teachfm’s Fergie Way was awesome if you’re looking for a YT recommendation.
All great community picks and worth looking into. The conversation then moved more towards how he plays the game and his save with RBL over at occasionalFM.wordpress.com
Chris Darwen asked for someone so active in the community, you get through a save quite slowly – tell us more about your playing schedule, and does it frustrate you going at that pace or is it just right for you?
My FM playing schedule gets regularly mocked! When I was at uni, I pretty much played FM full time. Then after uni I worked shifts in a pub full time for 2 years, and pretty much played FM full time too between my shifts. Then I got my big first proper job, plus moved in with the now Mrs S, which meant FM playing time dramatically decreased! I wrote about it a bit in this post [from his own blog OccasionalFM “I can give up when I want”] but the only times I really get to play FM are Saturday/Sunday mornings when I wake up ridiculously early and play for a few hours. Plus the occasional time I wake up early during the week, and when I work from home #flexibleworking.
It frustrates me to a point, but only because I think back to how much I used to be able to play. I’ve changed up the way I play the game, and it’s now quality over quantity. The less playing time makes me appreciate the game more. Who cares if you only maybe manage 10 seasons across the year, as long as you bloody enjoyed it?
Spiritedklopp asked how long do you plan to stick with RBL? Is it for the whole of FM17?
It was the plan at the start, and right now, it’s the plan too. I’ve still got things to achieve. I’m on course to retain the BuLi after winning it for the first time last season, but we’ve been nowhere near good enough in the Champions League so far. If I win that with still quite a while left to go before FM18, who knows what might happen…
FM_Grasshopper joined the questioning to ask ‘No One Likes Us’ (the title of Samo’s current save) has been a great tag line for the series to date now a few seasons in, surely there are some that must like RBL and the legendary management you’ve demonstrated. So…if you had to update the tagline, what would it be?
I think there’s still a few people out there who aren’t quite as keen on anything related to Red Bull and football, but no, we’re doing brilliantly in-game and in my own head I like to think as I move up the reputation rankings, the in-game fans across the world are starting to warm to us (which from a non-German fan perspective, seems to be the case this season imo!). If I was to update the name of the series. It’d probably be something boring like ‘Red Bull Revolution’. I’ve used that a few times in my updates, as of course, I’ve added RBSalzburg into the mix since I started the save.
And finally on RBL. Going back to the afore mentioned #tastethefeeling @reids asked in a battle of multi club ownership, who would win, RB Salzburg or Coca Cola Antwerp? RB Leipzig or Coca Cola Sunderland?
Haha I think by the end of his save versus my RBSalzburg side right now, Antwerp might fancy themselves. But I’d back my RBLeipzig boys against Sunderland for sure
So relating to his tactics in general Slack user @deansy97 asked Do you fit players into your system even though it’s not one of their desired positions? If so, is there anyone in particular that who have moved and has done extremely well?
More often than not, I shoehorn players into my system. That is, if I think they’re up to it.
The best example is probably Oliver Burke. Plug alert http://www.thehighertempopress.com/2017/05/ode-oliver-burke/ I’ve very successfully turned him into a shadow striker, when he’s primarily a wide midfielder. I’ve also got a slight problem with just buying regens if they look good depending on whether they can fit into my current system or not. For example, just because I don’t play with wingers right now doesn’t stop me from buying wingers! They get shoehorned into playing shadow striker
Marc Bowen really enjoyed the Vs series Samo did last year and asked is there a chance of doing that again this year? If so who would you like to face off against and why?
I loved the Versus Series too! Was delighted when I thought up that one :joy: if anyone wasn’t aware of it, two FMers would pit their teams against each other and then write up their experience of the match afterwards, separately from both their points of view. Something very similar has been done recently on #thehighertempopress around the CL knockouts between some of the writers. It’s something that doesn’t happen too regularly, but I think it’s pretty cool to read about! I don’t see why people in Slack couldn’t arrange a few matches against each other.
I’d love to try and beat @keysirensie’s Reading. He’s won too many Champions Leagues. Someone has to beat him eventually! My new Mexican regen CB wonderkid versus Danny Loader
Dan Gear, who is currently doing a club and country save in Bolivia well worth checking out, asked do you fancy leaving your comfort zone for the wonder of South America on FM18?
I’ve mentioned it quite a few times, but I’ve never even considered starting a save in South America. I love following along with the saves that do get done there, they’re always really interesting and there’s always a cracking regen or two. But it’s not for me. I don’t know why I don’t fancy it. I’m not actually a huge fan or watcher of South American football in the non-FM world, so it’s maybe that more than anything else.
What is the one save you want to do but haven’t got to yet?
It’s quite a cop out of an answer but bear with me. I went to Monaco v PSG about 3/4 years ago, came home inspired to start a Monaco save on FM. Monaco had James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and the Berb still. I started it, wrote the initial blog post, did terribly and got sacked after 8 matches. They’re the ones that got away! I’d love to manage them on this game, with Lemar, Silva, Mbappe and Falcao.
Any teams which you’ll never manage?
I’m actually pretty easy when it comes to that on FM. Happy to manage any team! It’s just a game
@blackcaesara5 asked Will you be returning to manage in your beloved bonnie Scotland in FM18..?? Who with ?? And do you think we could set-up a Network save in the Scottish Premiership ??
My plan right now is to return to Scotland for FM18! Germany’s been great, but Caledonia is calling me… For some really weird reason, I have it stuck in my head that Stirling Albion are a club that might well have a bit of potential. They don’t have too many other clubs within the catchment area of the city, and other than I went to uni there, that is all that is pulling me towards them right now it’d be starting at the bottom of the SPFL, which is something I haven’t done on FM since my beloved Morton were down there themselves! A #fmscotland network save? Who knows! Would be amazing, but would we be able to get 12 managers to sync their FM playing schedules…highly doubtful
Dan Gear asked his next question about some of the features of FM17. So now we have had the game for a while now, which of the 1000+ new features in FM17 do you think has had the biggest impact on the game?
The only one of the 1,000 new features that’s springing to my mind right now is the social feed, and it’s fucking dreadful. It’s had an impact on the game by making SI spend time on developing it and neglecting other areas of the game they could be improving!
Speaking of which! Keysi Rensie wanted to know If you would be able to change something related to FM & (their) marketing/PR/social media etc., what it would be?
SI and their marketing approach to FM, eh. Such a regular topic these days, and a hot one at that after Loki Doki’s video last week.
It’s a tricky one to say the least. Last year was just a complete farce. A mess, marketing-wise, from start to finish. But the proof has been there for all to see, how many of us didn’t buy the game because of it? Exactly.
Their approach to marketing over the last few years seems to have been sync up with websites that have quite a big following and get them to produce some FM related content. This has been debated and slated for hours on end from FM content creators, who think SI should be working with them a bit more to promote them creating content promoting the game. If I was them, I’d be looking to do exactly the same, you want to try and get the biggest reach possible for your product. Why wouldn’t they do that?
I’d liken SI/FM to that of a football club and their approach to marketing too. It should be so easy. You’ve got a loyal, passionate fanbase of thousands waiting right there to be engaged with. When it comes to football clubs, people don’t have their ashes scattered down the aisles of Tesco. It’s not quite got to that level for SI/FM yet…
There’s a few things I’d love to see SI do:
– Bring back the FM Podcast (or something along these lines)! There’s plenty of room in the podcast market yet for another one to appear. Some people might not even remember the FM podcast, thinking about it now, it was pretty ahead of its time! Podcasts have exploded. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but Miles used to do one in the run up to the new game being released, complete with the feature roulette feature. We all love to make fun of the ‘1,000 new features’ tagline, but if SI rolled it with again like they used to, it creates a bit of intrigue and gives people an insight into the new game
– Dedicate some time to coming up with some sort of pivot on the old style affiliates scheme. It’s apparently been in review for at least 2 years now, if not more! http://www.sigames.com/si-affiliates if you take a look through, you’ll spot a few names in there you’ll recognise, and these sites or individuals do still receive a free copy of the game, but that’s all but where the affiliation ends really. I think it’d be silly for the FM Twitter and Facebook accounts to suddenly start RTing every post or video that gets released by members of the community, it wouldn’t work. But with a bit of strategic thought behind it, who knows…
That was the main bulk of the questions, there were a few Slack Exclusive questions so if you’re not signed up and watching head over! Especially if you want to know which brand of toothpaste Samo uses! I’m sure if you have anything else to ask then just drop Samo a line (@FM_Samo on Twitter) , he’s usually around. If you want to know more about his saves and other writing, please check out www.occasionalfm.wordpress.com and also Samo’s author page on Tempo