This story is courtesy of ODNK, our official Football Manager channel. All characters involved are real but the story is entirely fictional. A big thanks to Huw Davies for the title.
Arsène Wenger is one of the greatest managers the Premier League has ever seen, spending the majority of his career with Arsenal. But his origins were much humbler. Arsène was born in the Alsace town of Strasbourg and after a time in Duttlenheim where he also played, he moved to Mutzig, Mulhouse, and finally back to Strasbourg via their amateur team and the pros. He never managed his hometown club and that’s where this challenge comes in.
I say “challenge” but I’ve yet to come up with any rules. I’m playing as Arsène Wenger and I’m managing Strasbourg. My main aim is to win as much as possible before moving on. Ideally, I’d like to follow Wenger’s career and end up at Monaco next, (skip Grampus Eight), and end up at Arsenal. I’m using CM 01/02 as it’s my favourite game and more chance of longevity (as I suck at Football Manager.) I’ll be using a special patch that allows me to apply for any job, regardless of whether the team is managerless or not. That should make moving teams a lot easier.
In terms of player signings, there are no rules there either but I will aim to buy predominately French players and youth players of course. As the game continues, I’ll add more ideas and rules but for now, it’s all about getting Strasbourg to the top of French football.
Let’s see how the first season went!
Money was pretty low given our stature. Only three players were brought in – Jimmy Kébe on a free, William Remy from Montpellier for €825k, and Ferris N’Goma for €220k from Orléans. We also let three players go over the course of the season, bringing in €3.3m. Abdelhak Belahmeur left for €425k, Oumar Pouye for €300k and star midfielder Vincent Nogueira for €2.5m.
Staff wise, I brought in scouts Grégory Lorenzi, Peter Anders, Roberto Straal, Onandi Lowe, and Thomas Bormann for a total of €35k. One of our original scouts, Jean-Pierre Laverny, left for Nice for €65k.
This went as well as expected. The squad weren’t very strong, having just been promoted the season before. 16 wins and 15 losses meant we were inconsistent but 8th place was an incredible achievement.
Best wins: Bordeaux, 3-2; Nice, 3:1; Marseille, 1-0
Worst defeats: Lyon, 0-4; Rennes, 1-5; Monaco, 1-4
I had no interest in these and it showed with defeats in the Coupe de la Ligue Ro16 and Coupe de France Ro32.
About half of the squad managed an average rating of 7 or more. Fortunately, most of those under 7 will be leaving on frees in the summer, saving me having to deal with selling them off. The best performers were AMC Jean-Eudes Aholou, DMC Jérémy Grimm, and veteran D/DMC Kader Mangane. Aholou managed 12 goals in 26 games, 78% for pass accuracy and a 7.42 average. His contract is secure until 2020 but he does have a minimum release of €3.6m so that might need to be adjusted. Grimm was solid at the back despite our defence conceding the most goals of any team in the top half. 78% for pass completion was vital as well as 4 assists and 4 MoM awards. Mangane’s 5 assists, 85% pass completion and 4.8 tackles per match were a highlight in an otherwise mediocre defensive performance for the season.
First on the agenda is to replace the players leaving. At the moment, I have 13 players eyeing a Bosman exit. I’ll have the feelers out across the globe but still retain a preference for Francophiles to avoid any significant language barriers. I’ll also be rejuvenating the coaching staff with good stats in Working with Youngsters and Motivation. We’ll need that to avoid complacency, especially with younger players coming in.
Join me for Part Two!