Annan Athletic | Sir Alex Reborn #3 | FM18 Experiments

In this Football Manager 2018 experiment, we have placed a 32-year-old Alex Ferguson into FM18 to see how he’ll progress. If you missed the previous post in this series, do go back and find out what made Fergie leave his first managerial role with East Stirlingshire to become Annan Athletic manager.

In this post, we will review the next five years of Alex Ferguson’s career as he looks to learn from his first managerial post with East Stirlingshire.

alex ferguson profile

Alex Ferguson | Aged 36 in 2021

Sir Alex Reborn | Annan Athletic

2021-2022 | Season Five

annan 2022 league

Scottish League Two | 2021-22

Alex Ferguson has improved upon his first season with Annan by finishing two places higher in 4th. In the Scottish League Two, the top team automatically earns promotion to the league above while the teams placed 2nd to 4th enter a playoff with the 9th place team from League One.

Annan knocked out League One side Peterhead (who therefore were relegated) but lost out to Elgin City in the final to win promotion. So close for Fergie and co.

  • Cups
  1. BetFred Cup: Group Stage
  2. IRN-BRU Cup: 2nd Round
  3. Scottish Cup: 2nd Round

2022-2023 | Season Six

annan 2023 league

Scottish League Two | 2022-23

This year, despite finishing 2nd in the league, Fergie’s side failed again to earn promotion through the playoffs. Peterhead sought revenge after last years playoff and won against Annan in the semi-final before losing to Berwick in the final.

A much improved season for Annan as they came within three points of winning the league. But they will remain in League Two for now.

  • Cups 
  1. BetFred Cup: Group Stage
  2. IRN-BRU Cup: 1st Round
  3. Scottish Cup: 4th Round

2023-2024 | Season Seven

annan 2024 league

Scottish League Two | 2023-24

Finishing 3rd in the league qualified Annan for their third consecutive playoff appearance. Once again they renewed their rivalry with Peterhead in the semi-final, winning this round 3-2. But Annan failed to beat League One side Montrose in the final.

  • Cups
  1. BetFred Cup: Group Stage
  2. IRN-BRU Cup: 2nd Round
  3. Scottish Cup: 3rd Round

2024-2025 | Season Eight

annan 2025 league

Scottish League Two | 2024-25

A rare poor season, in terms of league position, for Annan and Ferguson. However, you’ll see in the table shown later in the post that Annan were actually predicted to finish in 9th place and have overachieved consistently for the last few seasons.

Without Annan in their way, Peterhead reached the final of the playoffs. They lost to Arbroath.

  • Cups
  1. BetFred Cup: Group Stage
  2. IRN-BRU Cup: 1st Round
  3. Scottish Cup: 2nd Round

2025-2026 | Season Nine

annan 2026 league

Scottish League Two | 2025-26

Finally, in his sixth season with Annan Athletic, Alex Ferguson has won promotion. They did so comfortably in the end and won by 7 points. Peterhead finished down in 8th place and will be hoping that Annan can survive League One and finish high enough to avoid a relegation playoff.

  • Cups
  1. BetFred Cup: Group Stage
  2. IRN-BRU Cup: Quarter-Final
  3. Scottish Cup: 4th Round
annan league

Annan Athletic finally achieve promotion. Here’s their journey over the past five seasons

The Verdict

ferguson profile 2026

Alex Ferguson | Aged 41 in 2026

ferguson stats end of 2026

Alex Ferguson Statistics

Ferguson has now managed 255 games for Annan, winning 40% of them. He’ll be hoping to improve this in time, but he’ll be focussed purely on surviving Annan’s first season in League One.

Season Club League Predicted / Joined Finished / Left Club Score
1 East Stirlingshire SLL 4 8 -4
2 East Stirlingshire SLL 5 3 2
3 East Stirlingshire SLL 6 15 -9
4 Annan SL2 6 6 0
5 Annan SL2 8 4 4
6 Annan SL2 5 2 3
7 Annan SL2 6 3 3
8 Annan SL2 9 7 2
9 Annan SL2 8 1 7

You can see in the end column how Ferguson has performed when you look at his sides’ expected finished and actual finish. With East Stirlingshire Ferguson was sacked when his side were in 15th place when they were predicted to finish in 6th, hence the score of minus nine.

With Annan, he has exceeded expectations in the previous five seasons and will be hoping to continue that trend into League One.

Season Current Ability
1 107
2 110
3 118
4 119
5 123
6 129
7 136
8 141
9 147

Ferguson’s current ability has reached 147. This is an exceptionally high level when compared with other Scottish League Two managers. In the 2026 season here’s a list of the CA of the 2025/26 seasons’ top four managers (below Annan).

Airdrie United | David Goodwillie – 96

Cowdenbeath | Martin Kelly – 104

Forfar | Mark Chisholm – 51

Elgin City | Mark Wilson – 99

Clearly Ferguson is far and away the greatest manager at this level. So why hasn’t he been picked up by a higher club in the last five seasons?

reputation graph 18-26

It could have something to do with his reputation. Here is a graph that shows Ferguson’s current reputation as it develops over his first 9 seasons as a manager. Let’s compare his reputation with that of the four managers highlighted above.

Annan Athletic | Alex Ferguson – 3767

Airdrie United | David Goodwillie – 2965

Cowdenbeath | Martin Kelly – 3249

Forfar | Mark Chisholm – 3238

Elgin City | Mark Wilson – 3250

Though far superior to his counterparts with regard to his current ability, Ferguson’s reputation is largely similar to that of his fellow managers. He received a boost to his rep after the latest league winning season, but this surely contributes to a lack of interest in Ferguson.

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If you liked this post, please do leave your feedback in the comments! After 6 seasons with Annan Athletic, Ferguson has finally earned a promotion. But how will his side fare in a higher division? Will Fergie remain loyal to Annan or get poached by a bigger club? Leave your predictions in the comments!

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