It’s now October and Football Manager 2018 (at least the Beta) will launch later this month. So I figured I’d give you 5 clubs that I personally would find intriguing to manage in FM18 (+ 1 bonus club).
I have a lot of personal sympathies for Fiorentina thanks mainly to “Batigol”: Gabriel Batistuta. His performances in the 1990’s deepened my love for Serie A and interest in La Viola in particular. The club, from the beautiful city of Florence, have had sporadic success over the course of their history. Their last of two Serie A titles dates back to 1968 and the last cup win was in 2001, a competition they’ve won six times. Additionally, Fiorentina won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1961. Ignoring a one-season-stint in Serie B in 2003/04, their league form over the past 20 years has been pretty good overall. From 2012/13 to 2014/15 they finished fourth each season, but last season they dropped out of the European places with an 8th place finish. Overall the squad is pretty solid with a few interesting younger players (e.g. Dragowski, Milenkovic, Benassi, Hagi, Chiesa). Add one or two more to the team and you should definitely be able to compete for the Europa League places, if not the Champions League spots. Fiorentina should be built to compete with the pack behind Juventus.
ASSE is one of the most historically successful clubs in France. They’ve won ten Ligue 1 titles and the Coupe de France six times. However, their last league title was in 1981 and the last cup win (not counting the league cup) was 1977. They also reached the 1976 European Cup final, losing to Bayern München. During the height of their success in the 1960’s and 1970’s they had such legendary players as Jacques Santini, Michel Platini and future World Cup winning manager, Aimé Jacquet. Their best finish over the past 10+ years was 4th in 2013/14. The biggest rival is Olympique Lyon, with whom they contest the Derby Rhône-Alpes. Saint-Étienne have a solid mid-table squad with a few stand outs like Rémy Cabella, Ole Selnæs and Loïc Perrin. But to be successful, a squad revamp and especially rejuvenation are much needed.
Kieler SV Holstein is a newcomer to the 2nd Bundesliga. A small club from the far north of the country (only 1 hour from the Danish border), Holstein Kiel have bested the odds and gained promotion from the 3. Liga last season. Small as they might be, Kiel actually won the German championship all the way back in 1912 (finishing 2nd in 1910 and 1930). Despite their blazing league form in real life, Kiel will be a steep challenge in the Football Manager world. The squad is decent for the 2nd Bundesliga, but you’ll have to work hard to replicate real life performances. You’ll also need to work on the finances, in order to begin upgrading the stadium and all other facilities. Holstein Kiel are a great story in German football and would make for an interesting FM18 save. Maybe you can build them to the point of becoming the force in the north.
The reason for me picking Norwich City has one name: Daniel Farke. Much like recently promoted Huddersfield, Norwich went the unconventional managerial route by going to Dortmund and hiring the 2nd team manager of BVB. Norwich have a decent Championship squad with a not unexpected influx of German players. Maybe you can replicate Farke’s extreme pressing 4-2-3-1 style that he is trying to implement and bring more “heavy metal” football to the Premier League.
Real Betis Balompié is the “other” Seville club. La Liga winners in 1935 and Copa del Rey winners in 1977 and 2005, the Béticos fought off relegation last season. This season however, they are mixing things up in Spain with a fun and attractive brand of football. Betis’ squad was almost completely revamped for the new season, and features some interesting players (e.g. Tello and Sanabria). Another interesting aspect of managing Betis is that you will get to battle Sevilla in the Seville Derby, which is considered the best inner-city derby in Spain.
Bonus Club…Örgryte IS
Who? ÖIS is a 15 time Swedish champion from Gothenburg, who actually participated in the first ever “official” football match in Sweden in 1892. Only Malmö FF (19) and IFK Göteborg (18) have won more league titles than Örgryte. They currently play in the Swedish second tier, the Superettan, as a mid-table type club. ÖIS share their stadium (Gamla Ullevi) with their fierce cross-town rivals IFK Göteborg and GAIS. One long-term goal might be to build their own stadium, baring the amazing name of their old grounds: Walhalla. Managing Örgryte IS might be a challenging long-term save, but one that could be a lot of fun!