I Ragazzi Della Biancoazzurri Parte III: I’m in the zone, and that’s not a good thing


Ciao. So how many of us are playing FM18 BETA and fearing the sack then, eh? I certainly am. I am massively regretting laying down an initial plan for my first save, announcing it to all ten of you that read this rubbish and diving straight in.

I’m in that zone you see. That dreaded zone.

That zone, my friend, that zone is the zone of tinkering. The zone of not trusting your own judgment. That zone of forgetting where you started or where you are even trying to go. I need to come up with a name for this zone, but you all know what I mean.

I tried to follow my basic rules, I really did. Start simple. Trust the things you know that work. Listen to what other people are learning about the new game and steal their best bits.

Read Parte I and Parte II

I thought I was on to something, pre-season was up and down but I was confident we could get through the first competitive match in the Coppa Italia. 4-3-3 narrow was my set-up of choice, hit the front men early. We’d be OK.

Were we balls. We crashed out 2-1 to Lecce, a team in the division below.

The worst thing was, the tactic wasn’t an identity I believed in. It wasn’t me. I was trying to find something that suited my squad rather than playing the way I believe a team should play. We were, frankly, awful and I felt dirty.

So I did what most sane people do in this situation. I binned the tactic at the first hump in the road and I am hitting the drawing board hard. 70% of pre-season has been wasted, in some ways – or I could fob you off with some bollocks about each failure being one step closer to success. Sod that, I am big enough to admit right now that FM18 is better than me. That will change though, that will change.

If nothing else it has helped me understand what I want us to be, and if Massimo Cellino decides to get rid of me at any point along the way then so be it. I will die on my terms, and not trying to keep everyone happy.

We will play full throttle attacking football. We will be direct when we need to be direct, we will run around like coordinated lunatics and we will batter teams into submission. We will sprinkle fairy dust where it needs to be sprinkled. Caviar, remember? Caviar. Oh, and the running around a bit is the industry.

What else have I learned so far?

Well, I took the decision early on to hand over control of most things outside of finding a fucking tactical approach that works to others in the club. So the DoF is sorting out the youth recruitment and has actually found a couple of decent prospects and the Academy coaching setup is in charge of the Academy training. This will change over time, but there is little point me setting up what I will be working with in five seasons time when I am not convinced I will be here in five updates time. For example, I’ve not even looked at the player search functionality that I am hearing so much about.

One thing I do feel like I have got nailed down is our defensive corner routine and our attacking corner routine. As ever, and this is the opposite to how I would set it up in real life, I just go 100% zonal and not have anyone on the posts. Attacking wise, a bit of movement around the middle and fling the ball into the back stick and watch chaos ensue.

I have to remember that Brescia have a media expectation of 15th and the board will accept midtable. Granted, I would class this as complete failure if we ended up in 15th but I’d still better have a bloody job.

The tactical blueprint has been ripped up. I am not quite sure what is going in its place just yet, but there will probably be a few tantrums along the way as I find out.

Sorry for the lack of screenshots, this has been scribbled down on the move…