In this Football Manager 2020 series the aim is to provide some inspiration for you to decide which club you will manage. I plan to review a large selection of teams from some of the more popular regions and countries in the game.
I will be focusing on clubs with an interesting challenge and therefore may not use a team from every country. The series will be split into several posts, each with a focus on a particular region. In this post, I will look at clubs to manage in the UK & Ireland.
Who to Manage on FM20 | UK & Ireland
Elgin City | Scottish League Two
Elgin City currently compete in the fourth tier of Scottish football, the Scottish League Two. They have been a constant in this division since they were elected as members of the Scottish Football League in 2000. The closest the club have come to promotion was in 2011/12 where they lost out to Albion Rovers in the playoff.
Your job will be to end the clubs stay in the fourth tier and win promotion to League One. Beyond that, a rise to glory type of save could be tempting, especially with the current Celtic/Rangers hold over the Scottish Prem.
Sheffield United | English Premier League
Premier League newcomers Sheffield United are a club that could make for an interesting first save in FM20. Sheffield the city is one of the most populated cities in England, homing more people than both Manchester and Liverpool. As such, Sheffield United could have the resources to compete with some of the other biggest cities in England.
Can you build up the club to become one of the most feared clubs in England? Could this save potentially spill into a ‘build the city’ type of save where you aim to build up Sheffield Wednesday as well?
Bradford City | English League Two
Bradford City last won a major honour over 100 years ago when they won the 1911 FA Cup. 102 years later they reached the final of the 2013 League Cup, beating three Premier League sides on the road to Wembley. The club are playing in League Two having recently been relegated from League One in 2019.
Short term, the aim will be to earn promotion back to League One. Long term, the club would relish an opportunity of returning to the top flight where they last appeared in 2001. Can you be the manager that brings the glory days to Bradford?
Glentoran | NIFL Premiership
Glentoran are a Nothern-Irish Premiership club based in Belfast. They are known as one of the ‘Big Two’ clubs in Northern Ireland alongside Linfield after dominating local football since the demise of Belfast Celtic. However, their recent form has not been as successful, last winning the top flight in 2008/09.
The obvious aim of this save is to overtake rivals Linfield as the most successful Northern-Irish club. After that, success must be chased in Europe. Glentoran once beat Arsenal 1-0 in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969, a competition that Arsenal went on to win.
Bolton Wanderers | English League One
Perhaps the most obvious choice of a fallen giant this year on FM20 has to be Bolton, at least in terms of English football. Between the years of 1995 and 2012, Bolton were a constant in the top flight of English football. In the Sam Allardyce years they qualified for continental football for the first time in their history.
Since then, financial trouble has led to poor performances on the pitch, seeing the club relegated to League One and beginning the 2019-20 season with a 12 point deduction. Under new ownership and your management, will Bolton be able to rise back up the leagues and back towards European football?
Shamrock Rovers | League of Ireland Premier Division
If you start at Shamrock Rovers you will be starting with the most successful club in the Republic of Ireland. The club have won the top flight title a record 17 times and they became the first RoI club to reach the group stages of a European competition in 2011. However, in recent years Dundalk have been more dominant, with Shamrock last winning the title in 2011.
This could turn into a very fun long term save where the aim is to build the nation by succeeding in Europe. Can you bring some of the worlds best players to the Republic of Ireland?
Tottenham Hotspur | English Premier League
Tottenham have started the 2019/20 season poorly. Yet they reached the Champions League final only in May and have been a constant threat in the top four over the past few years. Your job will be to go one better than last season and win the Champions League. It may even prove a lesser challenge than that of beating Liverpool and Man City to the PL title!
Can you turn around the clubs fortunes and rejuvenate some of the star players who have underperformed so far this season?
Dundee United | Scottish Championship
Dundee United currently play in the second tier of Scottish football, the Scottish Championship, where they have been since 2016. The club have won one first division title, back in 1982-83. Since then, Aberdeen have won the title twice with Celtic and Rangers winning 17 times each.
Playing in Scotland always offers the opportunity of breaking the Rangers/Celtic hold of the Scottish title. You have to build up Dundee United and bring them back to their glory days, overtaking rivals Dundee in the process.
Newtown | Cymru Premier
Since the formation of the top flight in Wales in 1992, Newtown are one of two clubs who can claim unbroken membership of the league. Despite this, the club have never won the top flight and it is your job to change this.
You will have to fight off the giants TNS who have won the past eight editions of the league. Are you up to the job?
Middlesbrough | English Championship
The final club of this post is Middlesbrough. Middlesbrough present an interesting option for lovers of English football. As recently as 2006 Middlesbrough were competing in the UEFA League final, losing out to Spanish side Sevilla. In their entire history (formed in 1876) the club have only spent two seasons outside of the top two divisions.
You will need to rebuild the club, take them back to the Premier League and then chase continental glory. Make Steve McLaren proud.
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Thanks for reading!