I’ve been playing Football Manager since the big FM/CM split, prior to that I had brief stints as ‘assistant’ to my brother or being placated by being allowed to manage any one of a number of very low rated English Division Three sides. One thing I have never been able to get into is management of a National Team. I now invite you to join me on this journey of discovery as I endeavour to learn the best practices involved in managing a Country.
**A small disclaimer – this is not intended as a ‘How To…’ guide. This is me sharing what I learn as I learn it. There will be lows, that much I can guarantee.**
The Selection process
I’m a proud Northern Ireland fan who has enjoyed the peaks of Euro 2016 and the troughs of pretty much the majority the rest of my life supporting them since the mid-late 90s. Northern Ireland were a very tempting choice but I felt it best to go somewhere that my judgement wouldn’t be clouded by real life opinions.
This all led me to landing on the door step of Kosovo. There are a few reasons for my choice which I will address.
You don’t need me to give you a history lesson here (or as the case would be: to copy and paste from Wikipedia), the basics are that FFK (Football Federation of Kosovo or Federata e Futbollit të Kosovës) only attained full membership of FIFA and UEFA from May 2016 so I will be responsible for leading them in their first official competitive campaigns.
Their newcomer status leads to a lowly World Ranking (190th on the day I assume control) and very low expectations. I’m hoping this will give me plenty of time to learn the ropes without the fear of an impending sacking if things don’t get off to a running start.
I’m hoping that the possibility of dual nationality with various nations may lead us to developing a talented National Pool – I haven’t researched into this so I’m not sure how far that will go when the Newgens start coming into play.
Me, International Manager
A proud Kosovan from the capital of Pristina who, according to my manager profile, holds 15 caps / 2 goals. Odd as this is more games than Kosovo had contested prior to this point. I felt it important to set myself up as a native of the country so the players wouldn’t see me as an outsider – does that matter? I don’t even know.
I will be taking on this challenge without the club element to help with player development – therefore my hope is that international exposure may help to increase a player’s reputation enough to get them onto the radar of the right club to develop them further. Maybe this will in turn help increase the reputation and standard of the domestic league.
One of the first rules I will set myself is to attend at least 2 games a month where possible to scout potential recruits for the National Team.
I have one member of staff, Assistant Manager Tord Grip. Bulking out my coaching staff will be an immediate priority.
I expect us to be the underdog in every match we play for at least the first few years so my tactical philosophy will be simple: defensive solidity and effective counter attacks.
I’ll be setting myself the following milestones, already I am smiling at how ludicrous the last few seem but anything can happen in FM…
First clean sheet:
First competitive win:
Avoid finishing bottom of qualifying group:
Qualify for tournament finals:
Win a trophy:
Reach Top 100/50/20 in World Rankings:
Number 1 in World Rankings:
First player to reach 50/100 caps:
First player to score 10/20/50 goals:
So join me for tears of sorrow and joy…probably mainly sorrow! In my next update I’ll be updating our progress from Day One in the job until the end of 2016 which will take in a friendly and our first four competitive games in the World Cup Qualifying stages.
If you’d like to read more of my work you can find me on twitter @FM_Adventure or on my own blog site where I am currently engaged in a long term save with RCD Mallorca.