Wizard of Wigan
Getting a job in the coveted Premier League, is a dream come true for
all the Wannabe Managers out here in the real world. But unlike the
reality, the virtual world comes out handy when you need the Dream Job
to satiate the obscene gamer inside.
My fling with the legendary series has spanned for over 5 years now.
And I have slaughtered time mercilessy while flirting with the screens
and the mouse buttons all these years.
So after taking numerous vows and deciding not to touch this no-good
game ( It's just an attempt to convince myself :-)) , I still ended up
The biggest decision to make now was that which team to choose to
start my latest season. The decision was tough, but I wanted some
change and a new challenge.
In my previous Avatars, I have won everything at National and
International levels. The earlier inclination was towards my
favourites, The Red Devils. But it was one thing I have started to
dislike, starting with FM 2008, many reason contributing to the same.
Firstly, Sir Alex hardly takes over any other club's reins and vanishes into
anonymity. I don't want this to happen as I want to see the direction
where Manchester United are headed to under his guidance. Normally they don't react
well to Sir Alex or me leaving and always underachieve under other
managers. The last time I tried the approach, however, the strategy backfired as Sir Alex
took over the job at San Siro after just 4 matches into the season.With Sir Alex at helm, I can expect more competition and thus make the experience more exciting.
Secondly, the game becomes just too boring the moment I take charge of
a big team. I have lost nothing whenver I hv managed Man Utd.
Thirdly, I have been following a pattern whenevr I take up Man Utd.
Removing dead wood, offloading aging stars , that I don't like doing,
but have to, as more than the trophies, I venerate the Richest Clubs'
rankings, coz trophies are very easy to come for a club as big as
And last but not the least, Sir Alex normally has his retirement date set. And if he retires after next 2 or 3 season, that would give me significant time to consolidate my candidature for the job at the Theatre of Dreams.This is the part I really like . The Press reports suggesting the interest from United make me inebriated for sure
Enough reasons for the moment, so lets move ahead with the choices I
had in mind.
The other 3 from the Big4 -. A strict No, as I am a die hard fan of
the Red half of Manchester.
Manchester City -> The new Chelsea is the ideal team with a Sugar
Daddy, but again it means too easy a game after a prudent transfer
window. Sorry Sir.
Portsmouth-> A good balanced team, but the transfer window would be
too boring as I find them pretty strong already.
Sunderland -> Keano adds a new dimension to the game. And in FM 2008,
Sunderland were the relegation candidates for almost every season and
survived everytime. I don't wanna kill the thrill.
Boro -> Same problem as with Pompey.
So rather than checking the rest I jumped on WIGAN. And if you are
asking for my head or are just curious about the choice, let me back
it up with my reasoning.
1. Zaki, Valencia, Melchiot, Taylor, Palacios, Heskey -> I don't need
them all, but they are good enough. And no one will raise a hue and
cry when you are targeting Mid-table finish.
2. Transfer Funds and Wage Bill -> 5.75Million Euros and 575K Euros
sounds good enough.
3. Fun -> Relegation Battle anyone? It gives me a kick especially
after the Tevezgate.
After the regular induction ceremony, I responded to Dave Whelan's obvious question by suggesting that a Mid-table finish would be feasible to achieve.But that was not the only piece of action that I would be getting on the first day, as numerous rumours popped up about the new Wanted Man of English football.Yeah, if you guessed it correctly, Emile Heskey.Frankly speaking am not a big fan of the man and keeping in mind the possiblity that Zaki can play that role as well as score and the chance to blood some new Young sensation, I conceded that I would be happy to let him go.
And the first bid did arrive within no time, Boro popping up the cheque with the figure of 4Million Euros. And though I felt that I should have toyed with them a bit more, I yielded, setting the Forward on his way to the Riverside a week later.
The other guy who was attracting much interest was Kevin Kilbane and I made no fuss in listing him for transfer. Despite offers from Hull , Kilbane however, settled for Wolves. (He has already scored a number of times and has a good average rating, but Wolves are lying 18th at the time of writing)
NOw came the next part, that was identifying new faces.
In the first few practice matches, Figueroa and Zaki stood ahead of the rest by miles, Zaki hitting the net thrice in the friendly against Leicester and Figgy providing 2 assists.The time was to take action, and I did by securing them permanently, which to my surprise, happened withoutt any fuss. Afterall, Zaki's personality description says "Fairly Loyal". Gem of a player!!
Apart from these two, I secured Sylvinho for a knock down price for 120K Euros and Thomas Gravesen on a free ( I needed a man for all the filthy job and one can't get any dirtier than him ).
And the germs of a perennial Manchester United fan surfaced ,when I bagged Fabio on a loan deal.(By this time Ryan Taylor was attracting Man City and he did leave for 5M Euros), so I needed a backup.
Now I set up my eyes on filling the void created by Heskey, and in came John Fleck , Billy Sharp and Genero Zeefuik and Danny Sturridge.( The first two for 5.1M Euros in total and the next two on loan).
So here I was , all set for the road ahead.
My team : -
Next time, the season kicks off and the story of the first half.
Thanks for having the patience.
"Few people walk in the rain, others just get wet"
With all the changes made , all the eyes now were set on the first match of the season. Everyone was curious about the capability of the unknown Gaffer who had the guts to tout his relegation candidates as the Winners of the League. The press laughed it off, considering it to be a sudden rush of humor.
The last friendly-> Having thrashed Hearts 4-0 in the previous match, hopes were high and the next in line was a trip to the Wolves. Most of the people , me included, expected a rout.But to the contrary the scorer thanked the players for the giving him an opportunity to doze off. The high hopes came crashing down to the ground, and the reality did start biting hard.Damn frustated by the performance, (it was good but goals turn me on) I conceded that the side didn't perfrom up to the mark.
16th August 2008 - Tottenham (Away)
After containing the Spurs forwards for almost half of the game,Frazier Campbell dealt the first blow to my ambitions. A pepup talk at halftime and some substitutions followed and in came Camara to replace Sturridge who had received a knock. Camara immediately proved his point and setup Scharner for the equaliser with his first touch. The poacher then made a mockery of the Spurs' defence and slotted in the through ball from Zaki for our 2nd goal. Things were looking good finally.BUt fate had another scheme of things and Pavlyuchenko denied us of 2 well deserved points.So 2-2 was the scoreline and the players and coaching staff was proud of the second half performance.
Success would follow for sure.
Result 2-2 (Draw)
23rd August 2008 -> Aston Villa (Away)
Premier league ain't no joke, this was the lesson I learned after surviving the 90 minutes against Villa. After shutting the shop for an hour, it begain raining goals and Milner, Agbonlahor, and Carew made it a miserable outing for me and the travelling fans.
Result 3-0 (Lost)
Next was a game against Scunthorpe (League Cup, Won)that we won narrowly thanks to Koumas, who took his chance well enough.
However the actual test was still to come,
30th August 2008- Arsenal (Home)
The game was settled well before the half hour mark, the source for both goals being very unlikely , Toure. BUt the positive thing that was evident was that the GUnner forwards were being marked and contained excellently. I decided to bring in another forward at the stroke of an hour and the pendulum strtd swinging in our favour with Zaki , Kamara and Zeefuik running the GUnners ragged. After hitting the posts and defenders in the box on no less than 5 occassions , the only consolation came with what was virtually the final kick of the match, thanks to Zeefuik who was making his league debut.
Result - 1-2 (Lost)
A new month, a fresh beginning and we had a lengthy international break of 14 days. Spurred on by some stellar performances for the national sides, Wigan were keen to make an impact on the big stage.
13 September 2008, Bolton (Home)
Finally the hard work paid off and the Latics bullied and forced the Wanderers to wander aimlesly all over the park. Valencia struck in the 8th minute with a lob over the keeper and Sylvinho announced his arrival with a powerful strike from 30 yards.Nolan added to the misery and scored for the wrong team.A solid perfromance and a good result.
Result - 3-0 (Won)
What followed was a defeat at Ewood Park (1-0) and a League Cup rout over Charlton (3-0)( Sharp netted on his debut).
A mixed start, but the thing important to me was that we were in contention for League Cup and had survived the first 2 rounds.
Next in line, the next period of 30 days when we wud welcome Liverpool, Chelsea and the Red Devils and will travel to Everton and Fulham.