My start with Football Manager 2021 has not been a good one. After quite a few struggles with the Match Engine (ME) my fun in my Espanyol save was completely gone. Since then i have been testing tactics with several clubs. But i never got the feeling you need to be able to commit to a long term save. Eventually it was a real life event that made me stettle on a club. And so this has brought me to writing about this save game in a Football Manager 2021 series called Kaaskoppen.
Which real life event am I talking about? The whole event that got Arne Slot sacked from his job at AZ Alkmaar. The club was in the middle of a very important week. They can still qualify for the next round of the Europa League and also in the Dutch league they needed a win. Apparently Slot has been having contract talks with Feyenoord and he did not report this in a correct way to the AZ board of directors. That same board of directors did not hesitate and fired Slot as soon as they found out. What the true story exactly is we will never find out. But it did make me start a save with AZ in Football Manager 2021 which i am currently enjoying.
AZ (nickname; Kaaskoppen or Cheeseheads)
I am not gonna dive into the history of the club. There is a nice website where you can read all about this so click here if you want to know more about AZ! I am however going to look at the challenges ahead and the things that will keep me motivated and going with this save game. For me in this save game everything is about enjoying playing Football Manager again so that will be my main focus. But the Club Vision will also dictate quite a few decisions that i will be making in this save.
- Develop players using the club’s youth system and facilities
- Play entertaining football
- Play attacking football
So if i want to keep the board of directs happy and avoid being fired i need to keep them happy about the above points. In Holland AZ is known for producting youth players so that will not be an issue. I will keep upgrading my facilities and i will look for the best coaches i can find. The other two points i am less happy about because they force me to play a certain style of football. Entertaining and attacking football is something i will put my focus on. Let’s hope i can create a tactic which brings us succes and avoids most of my ME frustrations from before.
- Work withing wage budget
- Qualify for the Champions League
- Challenge for the Eredivisie title
- Create a supply chain of talents who can either be sold for profit or be used in the first team
- Be the main supplier for the Dutch national team
- Become a European and Dutch top team
The above points are a mixture between what the board of directors want and what i hope to achiece in this save with the Kaaskoppen. Working within the wage budget is a very logical one. Keeping an good eye on the clubs finances will be very important. By making profit i will be able to upgrade the facilities and from there you start a chain reaction which triggers a lot of stuff within the club itself. More money means we can afford better members of staff, we can compete with bigger teams on the salary side of things and we can take steps towards becoming a Dutch and European top team. Qualifying for the Champions League will be a very important factor as well. That competition is the highest and toughest in which you can play as a team. So for player development and the stature of the club it is important that we become a club that play in the Champions League on a regular basis. Challenging for the Eredivisie title is going to be one of the tougher things to achieve. We will have to compete with mainly AFC Ajax for the title each season. And then there are PSV and Feyenoord who will also have the same ambitions as us. This will create tough and intense matches which eventually will decide who is going to win the title every season that i play.
By creating a supply chain of talents we will be self sustaining on the financial side of things. Some talents will be kept as they will be needed in the first team. Other talents will be sold to other clubs to gain profit. Over time i hope that the Kaaskoppen will be the main player supplier for the Dutch national team. The club has a lot of talent and it is up to me to get the best ouf of them in order to make international players out of them. And if everything goes well enough we will become a Europand and Dutch top team over time. Currently you have the big three clubs in Holland, AFC Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord Rotterdam. It is my goal to get AZ inbetween those clubs so we will either have a top four or top two (AZ and Ajax).
I guess this has become a bigger introduction post then i expected before hand. If you’ve made it this far reading all of my ramblings then i applaud you. In the next post we will be looking at the challenges i face regarding the players and the members of staff. Stay safe for now and til the next one!