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The Luke Henderson Story

Finding a way in Scottish football
Started on 22 December 2019 by Luke Henderson
Latest Reply on 23 June 2020 by TheLFCFan

#001 - Prologue

Welcome Guys. Every two years I buy the new Football Manager, the one and only game I love (and hate, sometimes, just as all managers do from time to time I guess). So, the 2020 version will be the newest episode for me after a while. I do have written manager stories earlier before on a Dutch community, but this will be the first time I do it in English. Firstly because in real life I have to communicate in English a lot recently for my job, so it’s a good way to learn the language even better I think. Secondly I love some English football terms much more rather than the Dutch synonymous which I like to use in this story. In this prologue I give some background information first about my new career.

I play Football Manager on a slightly different way than most of you probably do. Before starting a new career I'm always using the editor to make some notifications that will deepen out my game a bit. One of the most important changes is adding some friends and relatives of mine. Their attributes are loosely based on their own character, varying from really good talented players or just a clumsy dumbass (don’t let them hear!) who is likely to act in the basement of professional football. They are all born in 2003, all with different CA and PA, all with a different nationality to prevent a national team will be significantly stronger than they actually might be, all of them playing on a different position, and all playing for different clubs all over Europe (except one) which I have assigned. There is one main rule for me: I’m not allowed at all getting involved into their careers, not even in a possible situation of minor coincidence. I'm just watching how they evolve, sometimes making notice of it in this story if they cross my own career or there is some important news to tell. To give you some idea how things sort out: when for example Belgium approached me to become their new national manager and one of the designed players, Yassin Hassan in this case, is a doubting player for the national squad, I Just can’t accept the job.

Furthermore I love Scotland, but definitely not the way how professional football is organized over there. That’s the main reason I never managed a club in Scotland before. Until now. I have changed the Scottish football pyramid heavily, which makes it (hopefully) much more enjoyable managing a club over there. I will definitely tell more about it in the next few updates and reveal the club which fictional 41-year old manager Luke Barra Henderson is going to manage! After a couple of introducing articles I'm intending to fly a bit faster through the seasons, roughly writing an update 5-6 times per season. Hopefully you like this way of playing Football Manager!
Nice start and welcome to FM Scout, we are glad to have you!!!!
Luke Henderson's avatar Group Luke Henderson
2 yearsEdited

#002 - Introducing Luke Henderson

Born in the Highlands in the charming town of Oban at mainland Scotland, Luke Barra Henderson (his second name is Barra because of his grandfather was born and living on Barra, a little isle in the Outer Hebrides) was already playing football from his fourth birthday. Not a great talent though, but his tenacity and fighting spirit combined with some good developed physical abilities brought him close into a professional football career. He played in the Scottish Leagues for a while as a classic box-to-box midfielder but never had the chance to become a full prof.

When a teenager Henderson moved to Edinburgh start playing for Spartans, but wasn’t able to make it into the first squad. After four years he left the club disappointingly without playing one single game. Just twenty, Henderson returned to Oban and joined the local semi-professional football club Oban United, then acting in the Highland League. He realised soon his basic talent wasn’t good enough for being a player with a fluent technique and starts improving his physical skills. Combined with his length and mental state Henderson transformed into a sly midfielder and almost immediately became a starting player at United.

After twenty-three games he scored his first goal, ending at two scoring another one in the final game of the season. In the next seasons he played almost every match, scoring goals frequently and reached into the play-offs with his team in the last two seasons. Unfortunately Oban United didn’t make it to the finals and so missed the opportunity for celebrating his first trophy. Although Henderson did celebrate a small success for himself; moving forward to a higher level. He played very well in his last season and made profit from his expiring contract earning a transfer to England. Not for playing in the English football system, but for unique League Two club Berwick Rangers from Berwick-upon-Tweed, nearly touching the Scottish border.

So Henderson made his second attempt acting on a higher level after his failure at Spartans. But now he succeed greatly. He became a starting player immediately, made himself very popular by the fans due to his working rate and celebrating his only major trophy at the end of the third season. Berwick ended first in the competition and so promoted to League One. It seems to be another step forward in his career, but persistent rumours about a new transfer become louder and louder.

Just before the new season started Henderson did make a delicate transfer. Despite his ongoing popularity in medieval Berwick-upon-Tweed he couldn't resist the call from his beloved city Edinburgh anymore. Spartans again were very interested in their former protégé and made an unusual £10,000 deal with Berwick to incorporate Henderson again. It was said Henderson paid the transfer fee partly by himself. The fans from Berwick where heavily disappointed about losing their physically strong midfielder and from then on he became a persona non grata in Berwick and surroundings.

The next ten seasons Henderson achieved very well at Spartans, playing a total of an incredible 320 competition games and scoring thirty goals. Statistics that made him possibly the player with the most club appearances, although unfortunately history books are incomplete to be fully sure about that. Despite his working rate and exemplary behaviour, which made him popular by the fans again, Henderson was never in the circumstance again for winning another trophy. Spartans performed steadily over the years, never getting into relegation troubles and reaching promotion play-offs twice. Once they were very, very close promoting to the more professional organized Championship, but lose their final leg against Alloa Athletic. There were some minor successes in the cup tournaments as well, but nothing serious. By the end of the 2015/2016 season, at the age of 38, Henderson retired from playing football and set focus for gaining his coaching papers.

Henderson's career statistics overview:
1994 - 1998 | Spartans | 0 appearances - 0 goals
1998 - 2003 | Oban United | 163 appearances - 23 goals
2003 - 2006 | Berwick Rangers | 109 appearances - 9 goals
2006 - 2016 | Spartans | 320 appearances - 30 goals

Henderson's career honours:
2005/2006 | Winning League Two with Berwick Rangers
Setting the scene wonderfully. Good luck!
Superb start mate. Looking forward to your next update!
Interesting stuff with the editor, which adds a nice idea to the game. A good start, keep it up!
Interested to see what you have done to change the football system in Scotland, really well written update, good start!
Luke Henderson's avatar Group Luke Henderson
2 yearsEdited

#003 - Scottish football explained

Always playing against the same opponents, always being Rangers or Celtic winning the major trophies, no chance for lower league clubs to climbing the Scottish football ladder (or falling down) and declining interest by the fans and sponsors. The whole system definitely needs to be changed, everyone already said fifteen years ago. But after three years of research, challenging negotiations and some tremendous decisions the Scottish Football Association, together with most of the related clubs (except the few big ones of course…), succeeded to present the new football pyramid to be introduced from the 2013/2014 season.

The major changes including the Premiership is extended to 20 clubs, the Championship, League One and League Two holding 22 clubs each and the Lowland and Highland Leagues containing another 36 clubs, equally divided. In the nearby future even the lower regional leagues can be promoted to the Highland or Lowland League, but this will be introduced within the next few years. The two major Cup tournaments are redesigned a bit, but nothing serious. Promotion and play-offs are simplified, not dividing the top and bottom half in that ridiculous champions and relegation groups anymore. Relegation play-offs are abolished completely for all leagues. Clubs just needs to secure themselves by ending above the red Line… Television money is divided more equally (although still just a couple of miserable coins in comparison to the English Premier League) and prizemoney for the major Cup tournaments and the lower Challenge Cup is raised significant, making them far more interesting.

All new rules are harming the so called big clubs the most. So the first five seasons they will be compensate in terms of money by using special tax rules and some other benefits. After that they are completely on their own, just as all the other clubs recognized by the association. The main purpose for the restructuring is to make the competitions more attractive, diverse and slightly gaining a higher average level of football in general. Which is good for earning more money on the long term and of course pushing the national team to a higher level as well.

The toughest decision was to redistribute all the clubs in their new division. Based on their current participation, the participations in the last ten years, stadium or ground requirements, financial situation, reputation, geographical location in case for the Lowland and Highland Leagues and the extended amount of clubs in the new leagues, the Football Association designed a complex calculation tool that will assign the clubs to their new league with the following outcome: of course all Premiership clubs will stay in the top tier, roughly the first eight clubs in the nowadays Championship joining the Premiership as well. The current League One and League Two clubs are compete each other in the extended Championship, the Highland and Lowland League clubs are divided into League One and League Two together with some Conference clubs, and a few left over Conference clubs together with regional clubs are joining the new Lowland and Highland League, including the long-time wish to create the possibility forcing promotion into League Two. Of course you can argue some of my choices, but this is it and it can’t be changed anymore… For those of you who are interested in the full competition and cup set-up details, just read further in the spoiler underneath the league screenshots.

Note: Thanks for your support so far! I was trying to create a textbox which you can hide and unhide for the whole bunch of text underneath the screenshots, but I have no idea how to create such a thing (if even possible). I was searching for it on the internet, but couldn't find the right code. Maybe one of you guys know something about it? Coming up next: presenting the club Luke Henderson is going to manage. Although, that will be after the christmas days. Cheers!
Great update, I certainly appreciated the in-depth run through to clarify everything. I remember the discussion of extending the Scottish Premiership years ago, it's a shame it was never put into action as I feel it would be beneficial.

As for your query about the textbox, this page is your new best mate:

Hope it helps!
This is incredibly detailed and laid out perfectly for us all to understand, it really is outstanding work so far, mate.
Amazingly detailed, really enjoyed reading all through that.

I would have gone about it a different way, I do not think Scotland has enough talent or playing population to maintain this system.

#004 - Henderson presented being the new Spartans manager

After three years of relative calmed, Henderson succeeded for his exams, which made him ready for the next step in his life, being a football manager. And possibly far sooner then he could be expected. After almost two decades of being the manager for Spartans, 66-year old Callumn Moore decided to be retiring after he extended the presence for Spartans in League One for at least another year. It seems to be the perfect moment for Henderson taking the lead. Chairman Craig Graham approached the former player immediately and was glad to say Henderson signed a one year deal with an option to extend it for two seasons more.

15/06/2019 -- His first working day. The first day that might be the beginning of a new episode in Spartans history. The small press room at Ainslie Park is filled up with around fifteen people, most of them people from the club or friends and family. Today Luke Henderson is officially introduced being the new Spartans manager for the next three years. Chairman Craig Graham welcomed him and looked very delighted with the coming of Henderson. The former Spartans midfielder is popular by the fans and he seemed very motivated to start his career as a manager. In about two days the first training is scheduled, the beginning of a brand new football season. Time for the press now to ask Henderson some questions.

Luke, welcome back into the web that is called football. What have you done the last three years and why do you feel this is the right moment to step in? “Rested. In the period as a footballer you never get rest, especially not when you have to work beside of football. The first three months after I retired I have done nothing. Just enjoying my freedom, my family and thinking about the future. Although it was a no-brainer I want to do something in football again. I love the game, I love the fans and I love the pureness of lower league football. When you get the chance to experience all of that just around the corner from your house, in the city that I will always love and at the club where I spend many years of my career, than you can easily say this is a life time chance out of thousands. I just had to do it. And maybe I will enjoy it as well after a while.” A laughing Henderson said.

What do you expect from the upcoming season? “Well, it will be though anyway. In the lower leagues there are a lot of players switching from club to club to another, as it is at Spartans as well. We have to try keeping our best players here, make them interested into the club, create possibilities even beside the pitch and we have to make sure we are competitive enough. We need to extend the benefits from our youth academy even more and keep in touch with the fans. It is very hard to say what we can expect in terms of our final position on the table, therefore we need to go underway into the new season for a few weeks to see what our qualities are in comparison with all the other clubs in the league. Nonetheless we are hoping for at least ending on a play-off spot of course, but again, maybe that will be not realistic.”

Last question, what about tactics. Can you reveal something already about how you want to play with the team right now? “We all know the lower leagues aren’t become famous for holding a lot of technical capable players. Physics, working rate and tactics are much more important. At least I could know, I was one of them myself. So we really have to act as a team, nothing more, nothing less. As we speak I didn’t see anything from most of the players yet, so the next few weeks will be quite challenging, both for the team as well for me.” Henderson Said.

Note: Many thanks ScottT! I was searching for such kind of stuff, but couldn't find it. This will be amazingly helpful. I've already shortened my previous update. You are probably right Griffo, luckily it's just a game! But the fact is that I really want to play in Scotland in FM for the very first time, but the leagues are so small that it's getting bored very soon I think. So I definitely had to change some things to make it far more enjoyable for me. We shall see how things sort out!
A hero's return for Luke. A fantastic club to begin his steps into management with.
Come on the mighty Spartans!
Mon the Spartans!!!! Can't wait to see them become the Kings of Alba

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