Sometimes I’ll be going about my day-to-day life and suddenly become inspired to take on a specific team in Football Manager. This inspiration leads me to begin to work out how I’ll manage that team before I even load up the game. I’ll plot how I will take down my rivals, I’ll pre-scout potential FM wonderkids and I’ll decide on the players I will be showing the door.
This is when Football Manager is at its best for me, when I am truly engrossed in a team/save. Yet sometimes I can be totally uninspired to begin a new journey, unable to think of any club I would like to manage.
It is in these times that I look online at the many guides on teams to manage. These can be very useful and on occasions they have inspired me to begin a save with a new club. I, myself, wrote a post on eight teams to manage in FM17.
But quite often these posts/series only discuss one or two teams of interest from the countries I am hoping to play in.
This series will hopefully put forward a larger selection of teams from some of the more popular regions and countries. I will be focusing on clubs with an interesting challenge (based on my own personal football knowledge) and therefore may not use a team from every country. The series will be split into several posts, each with a focus on a region. In this post, we will look at clubs to manage in the UK + Ireland.
Who to Manage on FM18 | UK + Ireland
Brighton and Hove Albion | English Premier League
Premier League newcomers Brighton and Hove Albion provide an interesting challenge this year on FM. After narrowly missing out on promotion in 2015/16, Brighton earned automatic promotion last season and will battle it out with fellow promoted sides Newcastle and Huddersfield to remain in the PL.
The club has an impressive infrastructure and could be seen as the perfect club to build an empire with. If you can remain in the PL with Brighton, the financial gains will be huge.
Aberdeen | Scottish Premier League
Aberdeen remain the only Scottish club to have won two European trophies. Back when Sir Alex Ferguson was manager, they won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and the European Super Cup. The club haven’t won the Scottish Premier League since the days of Alex Ferguson, and with Rangers back n the mix it will be an even bigger challenge to knock Celtic off their perch with The Gers also chasing top spot.
Can you manage Aberdeen back to European success, overtaking Ferguson as their greatest ever manager? Perhaps you could even turn this challenge into a club and country save, managing Scotland to international success alongside Aberdeen.
Crewe Alexandra | English League Two
Crewe Alexandra are well renowned for having a good youth setup yet despite this they have been languishing in the lower tiers of the Football League for the past ten seasons. Relegated in 2016, Crewe would have been hoping to have bounced straight back to League One. But they were unable to do so and will begin FM18 in League Two.
Your job is to use the good standard of facilities to take Crewe to the big time of the Premier League. Can you do this with a focus on players to have come through the youth system at Crewe?
Barry Town | Welsh Premier League
Barry Town are perhaps one of the most interesting challenges in this post. Run by the supporters, Barry have only just returned back to the top tier in Wales. Famous for beating an FC Porto side that contained the likes of Ricardo Carvalho and Helder Postiga 3-1 back in 2000, Barry Town are the second-most successful side in the Welsh leagues, trailing only The New Saints in title wins.
John Fashanu became chairman of Barry in 2002 but was unable to prevent (and perhaps even the cause of) their decline. Can you topple TNS and overtake them as Wales’ most successful club?
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Sunderland | English Championship
Sunderland are in need of a club overhaul. Embarrassed in the 16/17 Premier League season, Sunderland need a new impetus to turn their fortunes around. At the time of writing this post, the club sit in 23rd in the Championship with just 1 win in their opening 11 matches. The previous three times in which Sunderland have been relegated they have returned to the PL within two seasons.
Are you the manager to turn the club around? It will be a big job, with a large number of the players likely to still be on high wages. Can you take the club back to the PL and beyond?
Dundalk | Irish Premier Division
2016 Irish champions Dundalk FC are one of the better known Irish sides to be on FM18. As recently as 2016 they became the first Irish side to win a European group stage victory, beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the Europa League. This year they will enter the Champions League at the 2nd Qualifying round after winning the top prize in Ireland. Wouldn’t it be a great achievement to become the first team from Ireland to win a group stage match in the Champions League?
That is your challenge. If you succeed, the progression is surely to qualify for the Champions League knockouts and beyond.
AFC Wimbledon | English League One
League One side AFC Wimbledon are famously the club that emerged from the ashes that was Wimbledon FC. Fans of the club formed AFC Wimbledon back in 2002 as a response to the relocation of their club to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire. The newly formed club returned to the Football League in 2011 and now play in League One, the same league as their rivals MK Dons.
With such a history it seems only right that they complete a remarkable story and overtake MK Dons in the footballing pyramid. Can you complete the fairytale?
Edinburgh City | Scottish League Two
A potentially interesting challenge in Scotland can be found in the capital. Edinburgh City are currently in the fourth tier of Scottish football and are only a part-time professional outfit. But for a club based in the capital of Scotland, the potential is there for them to become one of Scotlands top clubs. You will face the challenge of overtaking Hearts and Hibernian within the capital before looking towards Celtic and Rangers.
But of course, you’ll need to work your way up to the Prem before any of that is pertinent. This could be a fun little save for anyone with Scottish footballing interests.
Wolverhampton Wanderers | English Championship
Surely one of the most popular teams to be this year on FM18 is Wolverhampton Wanderers. The club has invested significantly and have recently purchased a number of exciting players for their level. Ruben Neves, in particular, stands out as a player far too good for the Championship, albeit he is young with much to learn. With new Chinese owners there may well be more money to spend.
Will you be able to get the best out of an exciting Wolves squad? If you are into player development then it will be a fun challenge to get the most out of youngster Neves.
Glenavon | Northern Irish FL Premiership
Glenavon, formed way back in 1889, should be an interesting challenge for you to take up if you are keen on managing in Northern Ireland. The Lurgan-based club have qualified for the Europa League for the past three seasons (unfortunately they failed to qualify for the current 2017-18 competition) yet have not won NIFL Prem since 1959-60 season. That’s nearly 60 years ago!
Can you be the manager to end Glenavon’s winless streak in Northern Irish football? And perhaps even help them to qualify for a European group stage?
Blackburn Rovers | English League One
One of the few Premier League champions, Blackburn Rovers, have dropped into the third tier of English football. Since their relegation from the PL in 2012 they have struggled to have an impact in the Championship and have now fallen to League One. Owners Venky’s have overseen their clubs plight and may not be the best owners to work for.
Can you help rejuvenate a despondent Blackburn and bring them back to the Prem? Or will the owners get the better of you?
Everton | English Premier League
Known as being one of the most frugal clubs in the PL in David Moyes’ reign, Everton have acquired a new owner in Farhad Moshiri who purchase 49.9% of the club in 2016. This has seen an increase in transfer activity from the Merseyside based club who have recently spent over £140M in the summer of 2017.
With all of this new money being seen in the PL, Everton may well be able to continue this spending trend. Will you be able to turn them into a consistent Champions League club?
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Thank you very much for reading our first post in the new Football Manager 2018 series ‘Who to Manage in FM18’. Let me know your thoughts on the clubs mentioned by leaving a comment!
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