A Detailed Account of My Current FM12 CareerAuthor’s note: sorry for doing this so close to the release of FM14, I couldn’t resist
I may not need introducing to most reading this, but for those who are unfortunate enough to have never heard of me: My name is Andrew ???ql? Moran-Russell, however for most people this is too long of a name and I am just called Andy Russell. I am thirty-seven years old and am from Ireland, with a grandmother from what is now Azerbaijan. Until three years ago, I had been living in England for most of my life. In these next pages I will describe my career in football.
At a young age, I had been signed by Chelsea Football Club who it seems now have had records of the past three years damaged. For many years I played above the skill level of my age group, and I was selected as a future star by the coaches. It was not to be, however, and I was released at the age of 20 due to injury issues with my left knee.
However, it was them with Watford that I enjoyed my greatest success, as well as 22 goals in 50 caps with Ireland. The legendary manager Graham Taylor returned in the season that I joined, and fired the club to two successive promotions. I was a piece in this success, and scored after coming off the bench in the 1999 play-off final. I could not prevent Watford from being relegated in their first Premier League season, and was released in the summer of 2003 due to the club’s financial difficulties. After half a year of being unemployed, during which I contemplated retiring from football as a player, then altogether, I signed for Shrewsbury Town, then in the Conference, and scored the vital penalty that won the game in the play-off final to be promoted back to the Football League. My six-month contract was not renewed, and I was available to all clubs yet again.
I signed for Norwich, then newly promoted. I scored only five goals throughout that season, as I was not guaranteed a first-team place, but all of these goals were vital to the club in one way or another. Having had limited impact, I was not able to save the club from relegation. In the following season I disappointed in my seventeen appearances, but despite this I still earned five caps for Ireland, which would be the last in my career. I was then released from the club, being too highly paid for a backup player.
This was not the last to be seen of me, however, and at the age of 29 I signed a contract with Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan to become a player/manager. I could not speak Chinese however, and did not get along with the players. At the end of the season I was relieved of my duties as the manager, but I agreed to stay on as a player until 1 January 2009. The next two years were largely uneventful, however I did receive an award for “Best Foreign Player” in the 2007 season.
I continued my career with Cork City from my hometown, but my contract with the club was cut short after just one month due to the club’s ongoing off-field issues. After five months, I then signed for Manchester City on a free but never played, as Carlos Tévez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Roque Santa Cruz, and Benjani Mwaruwari were all ahead of me in the first team. New manager Roberto Mancini decided I was surplus to requirements and, in my first paid transfer of my career, sold me to Swansea for £400k. R.I.P Besian Idrizaj I stayed there until my retirement, which was caused by the same knee problems that had forced me to leave Chelsea fourteen years before.
It was then that I took an interest in a coaching role. I had taken my coaching badges during periods when I was without a club, and during and after my spell with Cork City, and so was eligible to manage even the best of European clubs. I applied for numerous clubs, including Chelsea where I started my playing career, but most of these clubs simply ignored my job application, or could not agree on a contract. However Athletic Bilbao, seeing my relative youth and vision for the future, quickly agreed a two year contract.
The club’s transfer restrictions were frustrating at times, however the standard of the players was such that if played correctly would be able to challenge for the La Liga title. I had early on decided that the best players were attacking, and thus created a tactic that focused on fluid attacking play. It was not perfect, this was shown by the fact at the time of my resignation, the top goalscorer had five times as many goals as the second highest, but it got the job done. In January, I set a club transfer record by purchasing Cesar Azpilicueta for £24m. The club lay in third by the time that I left, but under Manuel Pellegrini the new manager, they finished seventh.
As the previous paragraph implies, I left to join a new club, to be exact it was Sevilla who were managerless. They were in seventh, but had a strong squad and no transfer restrictions other than the small transfer budget. I improved their form, and they finished in fourth, in no small part due to Jesús Navas who scored four goals in my first game in the club.
Making the reverse switch from many managers and players, I joined São Paulo FC who at the time were struggling in seventh place in the Brazilian Serie A, but could not improve their fortunes and so was sacked after less than four months in the job. FC Utrecht from the Netherlands were the next to come calling, and I managed to get them into a good position to avoid relegation, and also managed to sign international players such as Brad Guzan and David Targamadze. For my fourth managerial club swap in two years, I moved across the country to join FC Twente, who didn’t improve at all under my leadership, staying in seventh throughout the last two months of the season. I was interested in staying on with Twente, but they didn’t renew my contract, and so I joined Shakhtar whose manager retired, to have a decent shot to win something.
Moving across Europe, I didn’t have any difficulties with language, seeing as I learned fluent Russian as a child. I learned that Shakhtar had sold off most of their best players within the last two years, for example Razvan Rat, Willian, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Douglas Costa, but due to the cash intake from these transfers were able to improve youth facilities slightly and sign adequate replacements. There were weaknesses at certain key positions used in my tactic that I have stayed with, for example at the wings and at left and centre back, so I signed Ryad Boudebouz, Urby Emanuelson, and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa to correct these problems. We got off to a flying start in the league, in the first ten matches conceding only two goals. In Europe we just scraped through by the skin of our the fluke qualification of Celta Vigo, and later were thrashed 8-3 on aggregate versus Real Madrid who made it to the final before losing to Porto. In the winter transfer window the club signed wonderkids from other areas of Eastern Europe, especially Horea P?curar from Dinamo Bucharest for a discount £1.1m, who featured in the first team regularly for the second half of the season and impressed. We ended up conceding eighteen more goals in the remaining twenty-four matches (including when our local rivals humiliated us, and especially Yanga-Mbiwa, 6-1, their Brazilian striker Matheus Carvallho scoring a double hat-trick. I have since learned to only play Yanga-Mbiwa as a wing-back). Key midfielder Fernandinho left in January, but was replaced well with Aaron Ramsey. I also accepted an offer to manage my home country as well as Shakhtar, but have lost my first two games.
I am in my second season with a club for the first time ever, and am actually enjoying the experience. It is hard work, for sure, but football is who I am, there’s no denying it. We have again improved our squad, including by signing Celtic’s Joe Ledley on a free, and another wonderkid signing in Davor Pintaric for a large portion of our transfer budget. We have started the season on a high note, hopefully we will be successful this season.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This will not be multiple posts in this story, read the first post for updates. This will also be second priority to my Future Superstar Games story.
From Elzykor Gorkmad’s new book Kanelan Kuliad, Mirau Lannes