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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

#137 - Just enough

10/05/2045 -- Back to Spartans with the final run of the season. Despite we had some tough games yet to play we managed to finish third in the league after all. I’m satisfied with this result, it was the maximum we could get out of this season. It means we can compete for Champions League football next season once more, although we need to play two pre-liminary rounds first, which will be tough for sure! But, that’s something for next year.

We didn’t loose a single game till the end of the season except the return game against Manchester City, although that one was calculated already. I used nearly all of my reserve players and we even managed to score twice! Although losing 3-9 on aggregated isn’t a result to be proud of. But that £9,000,000 of price money sure is! I’m not sure yet how many television money we will receive at the end of the season from our Champions League run, but I think that will be around another £10,000,000 or something. Basically that will make us a very rich club next season, especially because our wage spending is still quite low.

Out of the last nine league matches we did win seven of them and played a draw against Both Rangers and Celtic. But if we had won both this games as well it wasn’t enough either. Hearts kept winning and also Dunfermline was able to extend their brilliant season all the way till the end. So those two clubs are secured for Champions League football next season, although I have some concerns about Dunfermline. They shouldn’t be there… Where are Celtic and Rangers for instance? They are really performing shit throughout the last couple of seasons despite the fact those two clubs are still way above everybody else in the league in terms of yearly wage money spending. Celtic manager Kenneth Vermeer was finally sacked somewhere in March after he survived for three years and also the Rangers manager was sacked at the end of the season. Time for something fresh over there in Glasgow.

As a whole the performances of the squad were quite good. Especially the signing of Shaun Breen really paid off! Celtic should be truly devastated. He scored 42 goals in total, from which 32 in the league! Absolutely stunning, especially because he only played 32 matches in the league either! He broke both the club records of good old Bryan Griffiths who scored 31 goals in the 2024/2045 season (and 31 goals as a whole that season as well). He is worth £12,000,000 now and I’m even considering him for the national squad! Also Williamson did a great job again, Hinchcliffe performed stunning with taking care of 20 assists and surprisingly Walker-Nightingale is still hanging on with 14 goals, despite he is one of the weaker players in the squad now. The centre backs are still very good either. Jamieson together with Chauvin performed great and also Beckley is still a very useful reserve player.

I think most of the squad can stay for sure. I have lengthened the loan terms of Williamson, Jamieson and Griffiths-Trevor once again. The other guys on loan are leaving. Goodwin is still terrible just like three seasons ago and Torrance performed very disappointingly and didn’t play much anymore in the second half of the season. Although Stephens did okay, we are not seeing him back next season. The positions that need some upgrade are the full-backs once again… Mart Kamphuis isn’t as good as I was hoping for and the contract of Jamie Gray is expiring. Harrison did okay, but is slightly getting older already. But at this point it’s not my concern anymore...

Time to make place
With all those millions drifting around at Ashmore Park currently and with my main goal (winning the league) already fulfilled, and winning the Archie Gemmill Trophy together with the Scotch League Cup from last season as a bonus, my time has come. I’m 67-year old right now, I don’t have the power anymore to focus myself any longer for doing two jobs at the same time. I decide to step back as a Spartans manager. I laid down a very solid base for the nearby future, especially because of our success in the Champions League and the money we have earned because of that. I will stay as the chairman of this club, but we are going to search for a new manager. I’m in charge now for six seasons with some great successes all around. The only thing I can do better is winning some European silverwork at some point, but that will be a very long term project I don’t have the motivation for any longer.

But this story is not going to end yet. There is one final job to complete, the Scotland one! Although it will be very boring most of the time and probably not bringing any success either because of there are far better nations all around, but it felt like I need to do something back for Scottish football and this will be it. I owing much thanks to Scotland and this is the way for paying them back. I will be in charge at least until the 2048 European Championship and at that point this story will end. Don’t expect much updates anymore either, I will flew through this last episode quite fast because there are not much matches to be played throughout a year beside of the big tournaments. For which we should qualify ourselves in the first place! There will be no summarize from my recent Spartans years either, instead I will do one big summarize of my entire career when I finished the Scotland job!

A great season for Breen! That's a fantastic record to have in-front of goal and the exact type of player you want to have in your team.
Strong end to the season that, congrats on reaching the CL! Although you'll have to deal with some qualification rounds, so that's not ideal. But I'm sure you'll get through them!
A Spartans legend for sure and your retirement for club football see's a modern great backing away. Scotland will now see your full focus and that could well benefit them in the coming major tournaments.

#138 - World Cup here we come!

29/12/2045 -- Half-a-year further now and we just qualified ourselves for the World Championship 2046 which will taking place in Japan. As expected we qualified ourselves pretty easy. I calculated two losses against France already and if we can win all the other matches we should be save for ending within the best six countries which are qualified because they are the best second placed countries in their group. And that’s exactly what happened. Although, not entirely.

Because we managed to win the return game against France at their place (2-3) quite surprisingly we were at the same amount of points with them by the time. Although their goal difference was way better because they destroyed the other countries in our group a couple of times. So despite winning a game against them we are probably ending second anyway because of the goal difference. But we didn’t count on Greece either in our last game. We played an awful game and thanks to our goalkeeper (who is the guy from Partick Thistle which I decide to bring back into the squad) this match don’t get lost. Not a big deal, because we ended within the first six second best placed countries anyway, but because of this draw we ended on top from those second best places countries. For what’s it worth like…

So, we have three months ahead of us right now without international duties and in June we are playing two practicing games before we are travelling all the way down to Japan. The draw for the group stage has already took place and I can announce that we definitely have a chance to reach into the first knock-out round. We are meeting New-Zeeland who are somewhere around the 100th place at the FIFA ranking and the United States. They are around the 20th place, but if you take a look at their current squad they only have two or three players who are worth over £10,000,000 and their two best players are centre backs as well. So, not really a threat for us at first sight I would say. We are ranked 27th at the FIFA ranking currently. Until now not much has changed in the squad, during the last one-and-half year. I’m only a bit concerned about my striker who should be the best player in the squad by far… But Real Madrid striker David Finlayson is just doing nothing. He only scored once during the fifteen matches he played… Maybe he’s only motivated for playing at a big tournament. Well, if that is the case he can do whatever he wants!
Congratulations on qualification, a brilliant start to your time with the country. Hopefully Finlayson will be able to turn it on as he could be the key for you to surprise a few in the World Cup itself!
A great draw for you by the sound of things! The biggest stage requires the very best from your star men, so hopefully Finlayson will thrive under the pressure.
Very impressive away win against France in there, and great achievement to qualify for the Euro's!

#139 - Not our Cup

08/09/2046 -- The World Cup is done and it wasn’t a big success. We just realized what the board expected and that’s pretty much it. Although I have to say the draw was definitely not in our favour all the time. It started already with the opening game against the United States. Ranked as the 10th biggest country in the world just before the tournament started. It’s not entirely clear to me how they achieved that given the fact they barely have some superstars in their squad, but I have to admit that they have a pretty solid team without big weaknesses. We were struggling against them and at the end we should be very thankful with a 2-2 draw. Especially because there best players are actually defenders. Especially one of their centre backs currently playing at Arsenal is an absolute beast. I barely have seen such a good centre back in FM ever before.

The next game was the easiest one, against New-Zealand. They are ranked around the 90th spot in the world. Although it was a very easy victory we should have scored more. Out of the 35 chances we created we only scored two. Of course the United States did better and because of that we ended second in the group and having a much more tougher opponent in the first knock-out round. That turned into reality. Whilst the United States faced Poland we had to play against Ghana. They are the 12th best country in the world but in contrast to the United States Ghana has some very good world-class players. They were the better team for sure, but when we played far more attacking from the last twenty minutes on we suddenly created some chances. Youngster Paul Shaw saved our asses with a wonderful shot from distance. He is only 19-years old but a very good player already. I’m very glad I brought him into the squad despite his young age. When the tournament was done he was even chosen as the best youth talent from the tournament and the very first Scottish player in history who achieved this.

Anyway, we squeezed an additional time out of the match against Ghana and just when it seems go to end with penalties substitute Kieran Herbert headed in a corner-kick! Actually I brought him in ten minutes before the end of the game because he is one of the few good penalty takers, but I’m not complaining about this outcome at all! Actually it was even a doubtful player to take with me at this tournament. I’m glad now I did so! Underneath I have shown the 23-players squad for this tournament, it contains twelve other players then my very first assignment two years ago. For those of you who are interesting in those twelve I have showed their profiles in the spoiler.

The next round we faced another very good team. Germany this time. We have never won a single match against them in 25 year time. They are ranked 5th at the FIFA list. Again a very tough opponent. But we gave them a good game and even had a chance to take a 2-0 lead after only ten minutes, but Finlayson and Morrison failed in front of their world-class goalkeeper. You have to score those chances if you want to achieve something and we didn’t. After those chances Germany slightly took control over the match and there after it was one-way traffic pretty much all the time. Although it lasted till the 60th minute when they finally scored their deserved goal. After this goal we went fully attacking again. We created some minor chances, but it was not given to us today. Germany should have scored even more goals after a couple of counter attacks but my very average goalkeeper (Mark Bain) kept us in the race multiple times. At the end it was not enough, the luck wasn’t with us today and so our World Cup run has come to an end in the third round. If we had won this game we had to play against Morocco, which was a perfect opportunity to reach into the semi-final maybe!

All summarized we did a good job, but it was just too average. Especially Finlayson again, supposed to be our best player, didn’t perform as good as he is doing all the time at Real Madrid. At the end of the tournament he announced his International retirement again and to be honest I’m completely fine with it. In more than twenty matches he scored only three goals, which is way to less for a world-class striker. And we are even make use of the exact same tactic as Real Madrid does! He is 31-years old now, within the next tournament he is 33-years old already. I think the time is right now for a new striker to prove himself. And there was one more thing that didn’t helped us this tournament either. Before I had to confirm the final squad nobody was injured, which was a surprise to me already! But within the very first practicing game against Australia one guy was getting injured and that lasted at least six weeks wherefor he couldn’t join the squad for travelling to Japan. From all those 23 players I don’t really matter if one of them was getting injured at some point except one. And of course exactly this guy was harmed… The only guy in the squad I have a strong connection with. Right full-back Ronnie Adams. My beloved toddler when at Spurs, although he is 27-years old now. It’s just unbelievable… It took a part of the joy away from me immediately before this tournament has even started yet. Not to be spoken about his qualities. Although he isn’t playing much for Tottenham anymore during the last three years he still is one of the three best Scottish players all around…

What’s next
Despite being a manager of any national squad isn’t really fun in Football Manager (I mean, you can’t even chat with the players if one of them is playing awful) I decided to extend my duty till the next tournament, being the European Championship in 2048. It can’t be end here now. I have the feeling this squad contains some really good players and many of them are able for joining the squad for the next two years as well. If the youngsters can develop themselves even more we can really achieve something at the next tournament I would say. Especially if a little bit of luck is given to us by the time. After that tournament I’m retiring for sure, then this career and story is done. But it’s not that far yet. In the next couple of months we have to play for that National League thing again in which we are facing our main rival England, World Cup winner Italy and those aggressive guys from Turkey, who don’t have a very good relationship with the British at all. A very interesting group for sure, although I don’t give a fuck if we are ending first or last… Most likely last though!

Note: Not really LFCFan and Scott, maybe he was even the worst performing player in the enitre squad sadly... Thanks Zed! That was a good win for sure. Sadly it was more like a coincidence rather than a you could possible expect. If you guys have read carefully you should have noticed that this story is going to end. There are three more regular updates to go, followed by one major update which contains a full overview of this entire career. I feel the time is right now. All good things are coming to an end someday and that moment has come now. Coming up next: our second Nations League performances
A good effort but Germany are a difficult side to beat and that seems to remain true even so long into the future. It'll be a shame when this story does end. It has been a good read to follow!
I got into this late but enjoyed it all! I can't wait to see what story you do next!

#140 - One goal difference

28/03/2047 -- After our appearances for the World Cup we had to play for the Nations League once more. It will be my last Nations League run as a Scotland manager. Luckily I would say. This league says nothing to me at all. Maybe that’s why we lost almost every match because I didn’t looked very interested whilst sitting on the bench. Despite the fact we had a tough draw, we gave both England (2nd on the FIFA list) and Italy (3rd) some good resistance, but just as always the luck wasn’t with us again. We also lost the away game against Turkey (ranked 60th), but luckily we could win the return game at Hampden Park quite easily with 5-1 wherefor we kept Turkey below us on goal difference.

It was quite frustrating to loose nearly every match, just with a difference of only one goal. Especially in both the matches against Italy we deserved way more. Three out of the four goals they scored in those two matches were scored after a rebound with somebody luckily standing in the right position where the ball was going to… I also asked David Finlayson to consider his retirement for international football once more. In the first four matches none of my strikers scored a goal despite some good chances. Luckily for us Finlayson said yes and finally he proved his long awaited importance immediately in the Turkey game. He scored three goals, the exact same amount of goals in the 22 matches he played earlier before with me at the wheel… So at the end we finished third in the group, just enough to stay in the highest tier of the Nations League for two more years. It’s now up to the new manager next time.

The next challenge is the route to the European Championship of 2048. Our qualification run has just started and we lost the very first game immediately with 1-2… Of course with a goal difference of only one again… But at least we have passed the most difficult match now. We had to play against Germany away. We were very close to a good result, but it is really not given to us currently. We even missed a penalty… They forced a turnaround in the second half and we kept behind with zero points. So I guess we have to focus ourselves for finishing second again. Which might be a little bit tougher in comparison with the World Cup qualification given the fact we are facing decent countries like Norway and Iceland this time. Anyway, under normal circumstances we should finish second and I still kept faith we could achieve that for sure. And when the European Championship will start, then the luck should turn in our favour for what is supposed to be my final achievement as a manager!

Good luck! Glad you managed to secure another campaign in the top division in the Nations League.
The nations league was clearly a tough one but at least you didn't get relegated. Second in the group has to be the aim with a bonus in beating Germany in the home game potentially to take top spot. Going to be a tough one but I think you'll be fine!

#141 - Easy Peasy

14/06/2048 -- There we are. After our loss against Germany in the very first qualifying match for the 2048 European Championship we managed to win 5 other matches, played one draw and lost once more against Germany. At the end it was good enough for taking part between nine other best second placed countries. I have succeed the first step in my last year as a manager. It wasn’t great, but decent enough to beat the other average countries, although both matches against Iceland were some kind of a challenge for sure!

But now the most excited part for being a manager of any national squad is starting to begin. The European Championship 2048, which is held in France. Off course we are not favourite, but with some luck it should be possible to reach at least into the quarters, which is my main goal. I like this tournament far more than the World Cup. In the first place because of the group stage consists 3 matches instead of two, which felt a little bit more like a competition to me. With only two matches like the World Cup the factor of luck would slightly more making any difference. Although that isn’t the key, those FIFA suits only wanted more matches to be played, which means more TV money income... Beside of that, the European Championship is tougher to win I would say. The most competitive countries all over the world are based in Europe.

But our practicing run before the tournament starts wasn’t the best. Although I didn’t make it very easy for myself with away games against the number 1 and 2 of the FIFA list, being Portugal and Spain. But we did okay. We gave them both a very good game, but just as almost all matches before at the end of the ninety minutes we were at the wrong side of the score… I picked two easier opponents just before the tournament (although Peru is still ranked 14th and with Ukraine not being very bad either since they are ranked 26th currently), but we couldn’t win those two matches either. To be honest I don’t have big expectations for the upcoming tournament. Sometimes we can play really really good, but just as many times we can play just awful. The variation between our level of football is way too big. Actually there is only one thing I can possible do: just hope that our good form felt together in all those matches and hopefully that will be enough to achieve something!

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