Orange is the new Black
Blogging FM means you can look back retrospectively over your save, savouring the highs and lows of football management and recording the minute details held within. Everything before FM16 (the FM on which I started blogging) is therefore a bit hazy. I can’t look back and draw on words, it’s all down to memories. CM & FM editions merge into one, with only the really special saves standing out.
FM14 had that special save. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Carlos Zambrano, Darío Cvitanich, Florian Lejeune, Raphaël Guerreiro, Valentino Lazaro & Youri Tielemans all plying their trade in the north west of France. My Lorient team were Ligue 1 winners and pushing the elite clubs in the knockout stages of the Champions League. ‘Les Merlus’ were hitting the big time, with a new stadium in construction funded by the inflated coffers brought about by my astute transfer dealings. There was no stopping my side…until…a catastrophic database failure. It’s still my most recent corrupted save. It’s the reason I now have rolling cloud saves and multiple HDD backups. Being burnt like this (with no backup save file to fall back on) changes you and looking back it’s just fortunate I was not creating content at the time.
So why FC Lorient in FM19? Well, the simple answer is that I have unfinished business here. But the more I think about the title question, the more it makes sense to be back in Brittany. Below are five further reasons…
The Lorient of 2013/14 were better than the 2018/19 version. They are no longer the top club in Brittany, a shadow of the team they once were…consigned to Ligue 2 since a relegation play-off loss to Troyes in May 2017. The short-term goal in this save is to obviously gain promotion to France's top league. I am targeting within two years.
Promotion is something I have not experienced in FM since a Hammarby (Sweden) save in FM15. The last 3 years of FM has seen me grow accustomed to managing in a top league with Grasshoppers, Estudiantes de La Plata & Inter Milan, so a promotion save is long overdue.
But the first aim will simply be to not get the sack!
Aims: Don’t get sacked and achieve promotion within 2 years.
(2) New Manager
Readers of the blog will know that I enjoy mixing a bit of creative writing into my save updates, it's sporadic and only happens when it feels right to do so. But for the 3 years of blogging I have had two managers: FM16's Loïc Swartzendruber and FM17-18's Ángel Bastardo. Bastardo became a widely loved FM character, but after 2 years I feel his story needs an interlude (I’m secretly worried about him becoming more well-known than FM Grasshopper as a pen name).
So, for FM19 meet Achilles Goss, a 70 year old Breton male who has been a football coach for around 40 years of his life. For the 1st time in his career he has the big job…Entraîneur of FC Lorient. For those Francophones reading, you will notice that ‘entraîneur’ directly translates as ‘coach’ in English. That’s exactly what Achilles Goss is, and through FM I will be replicating this via a ‘Tracksuit Manager’ profile for manager attributes and a focus on using the Director of Football for contract and transfer negotiations. We’ll get to read more on Achilles over the course of FM19.
Aims: Be an Entraîneur and use a DoF.
(3) Brittany, France & National Identity
I love France. I married a French lady, and my kids speak franglais. We eat French food from Ocado and the vast majority of my annual leave is spent in this lovely country. It's a country full of fine wine, contrasting landscapes & quirky cinema.
Focusing on Lorient for extra attraction and we get the Breton heritage, a fiercely independent cultural identity of France. Brittany is one of the ‘Six Celtic Nations’, along with Cornwall, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland & Wales. Brittany has its own distinct cuisine, language, micro-climate and, most importantly, they adore le foot!
I really liked the geographical approach to player recruitment that Keysi Rensie did in FM18 (read more here). I won't be as strict as this, but I would love to recruit some players from the Celtic Nations and have them represent Lorient (which hosts one of the biggest Celtic Festivals each year).
France & National Identity
There's no better time to manage in France, officially recognised as the best footballing nation in the World after last Summer's triumph in Russia. But despite the victory, the national identity of the squad was once again called into question. It's a similar debate that came to the forefront in France during their previous World Cup tournament win in 1998: how 'French' are its players? This grabbed mainstream International attention when South African comedian Trevor Noah celebrated the French World Cup triumph as a win for Africa. French ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud responded by saying that “this, even in jest, legitimises the ideology which claims whiteness as the only definition of being French. They were educated in France, they learned to play soccer in France, and they are French citizens. They are proud of their country, France."
In my opinion Monsieur Araud is missing the point here (although I view his words as a defence against France’s Far Right rather than towards Trevor Noah): those players of African descent who chose to play and represent France in WC2018 are no less African for making this decision. Like my children, they do not have to choose…it's ok to be both French and something else. It doesn't make them any less French in terms of their national identity(ies). Likewise, those in Africa can be proud of that team and celebrate its victory due to its special African heritage…which was Trevor Noah’s original point.
So where am I going with all of this? Well, another reason for choosing FC Lorient is that they have experience of recruiting and developing African players. For those that do not know, due to the post-colonial links to the continent…France does not restrict the number of African players playing in its league. So, this is a continent I want to scout and use for player recruitment & development. This is similar to the approach FM Pressure made in FM17 with Auxerre, although I will not be adding African leagues like James did…I'll simply be adding all African players from the onset of the game creation, in the hope I can discover a few rare finds.
Aims: Sign some Africans and Celts.
(4) The Death of Fibra?
Not quite - although I will have no strict fibra recruitment policy this year. Simply put, the fibra is always going to be a part of how I play this game. Especially since adopting it quite stringently during the last two editions of FM (read more about the concept of fibra here). One could assume that, without a fibra recruitment policy in place, my teams are going to be made of 'softer' players this year. But I actually think that I will have more fibra in my FM19 squad than last year. I will hopefully be managing in a top European league (if promotion can be achieved), so the pool of players realistically available to me will be greater. More players will mean more fibra to choose from.
I don't want to restrict myself in terms of recruitment…like the previous two years. I will not feel guilty if I want that luxury flair player or tricky winger. However, I want to get ample fibra in the positions and roles that matter. Expect me to raid the countries where I know fibra is in abundance (due to the national template styles in the background of FM). Argentina, Italy, Serbia, Uruguay…Achilles Goss is coming for you!
Fibra for FM19 will be judged on: Aggression, Bravery, Determination, Teamwork & Work Rate. There is a case to add and remove attributes, but generally everything I want from my players correlates with those five attributes.
Aim: Adopt a non-restrictive fibra policy.
In a sea of FM19 purple, orange might just stand out. I’ve been very defensive of purple though, it has seen far too much criticism, even before an FM19 virtual ball had been kicked. But orange is my favourite colour. It’s bold, exciting and vibrant...perhaps everything FM Blogging appears not to be (until you get to know it of course)! Anyway, FC Lorient play in their orange home kit and it’s also my favourite colour...so this move makes total sense.
After all, orange is the new black…right?
Aim: Embrace orange.
Hopefully the above adequately answers today’s title question, and we’ve drawn some aims and aspirations for the save:
Don't get sacked and achieve promotion within 2 seasons
Be an Entraîneur and use a Director of Football
Sign some Africans and Celts
Adopt a non-restrictive fibra policy
My aim is to be as consistent with blogging as last year, so that’s two posts a season. As with last year, I expect to play at the same speed too. So please don’t expect a 20 year save, it’s more likely to be somewhere between 5 and 8 seasons. I’ve not even decided if this will be a One Club Save either, I’ll simply let Achilles Goss do his thing and see where it takes us.
It will all kick off from Friday 02 November, where I have a day dedicated to FM due to annual leave from work :-)
As always, thanks for reading, sharing and caring.
FM Grasshopper/Achilles Goss