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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
Good luck in the group stages. Hopefully you can have a decent run!
It's been a tough build up but the group doesn't look to be the toughest (Not that I am sure how the sides look in 2048 :D) Good luck!

#142 - It summarized my entire career pretty much

12/07/2048 -- Okay, it’s official now: I’m retired as a football manager. At the age of seventy. This is the very last update whilst at the wheel of any team. Although this isn’t the last update yet! There will be one final (huge!) episode with a full report of my entire career. I will pass al the jobs I did, highlighting some players and summarize all the prices I have won. Maybe there will be a major European trophy added into my cabinet as well, who knows! Well, let’s find out how my last trick succeed (or not).

First I will present the squad to you. Again I made some changes throughout the last two years, but the amount of talented youngsters is very limited sadly. The couple of superstars we have are getting old now and are most likely retiring within two or three years. So maybe the next tournament Scotland can achieve something, but thereafter it might become more difficult. Anyway, that’s not my problem anymore. Let’s see which players have to do the job for me. In the spoiler you will find the profiles of the new players who are added into the squad since the last World Cup.

The biggest concern was, is and will be in the nearby future our goalkeeper. I was hoping for a talent who popped up during the last four years, but sadly that didn’t happen. Our best goalkeeper is playing for Partick Thistle in the Scotch Premiership. A mid-table side at most. That says enough already. He is very average, although I have to admit he made some very good saves in some of our international matches. However, his ratings at Partick are mostly terrible throughout the years. This is the main reason why I’m play quite attacking, I need to avoid to have our opponents around our own box too often.

Our last line is quite solid. Luckily Ronnie Adams is back! Although he already seems to start to decline a little bit. He even left Tottenham two years ago. Anyway, I love him and I’m enjoying it to have him in the squad at the very end of my career. Liam Jardine is one of the very few youngsters who developed himself over the last few years into a very good player. He was even transferred to Manchester City last year and played a couple of matches in their main squad already. Our midfield is from a very good level. Evans and As-Chainey are very good players and together with Paul Shaw (possibly the best player in the squad these days) as an attacking midfielder they can really make a difference.

Our right-winger (Allan Morrison) is from world-class level, so is our striker (Finlayson) although he isn’t performing as good as I was hoping for. Hopefully he can do one final trick this summer, this will probably his last tournament as well given the fact he is 33-years old right now. The left-winger has always been some kind of a problem. I used many players throughout the last four years for this position, but nobody convinced me at all. But this might be solved for the next decade. 17-year old talent Donald Gunn seems very promising! He already made his debut, scored a goal and if he can develop himself further more over the next three or four years he might become a world-class winger at some point. Last but not least we have one Spartans player in our squad. Striker Shaun Breen. It was an absolutely amazing catch from me when I managed Spartans, but at the beginning I had some doubts about him for the national squad. At some point I gave him a chance, but it didn’t sort out… It lasted twelve matches before he finally scored his first international goal for Scotland. But he is probably the best Scottish striker behind Finlayson so he is going with us. France, here we come!

Group stage
Basically we had a very good draw to be honest. Starting against Russia is a benefit as well, because they are the weakest opponent (ranked around 50th). We beat them after a terrific performance. Suddenly I got some more faith in this team to be honest! Especially because we also managed to win the second game against Denmark (ranked 24th, just one step higher then ourselves). The last twenty minutes were a bit dodgy because we were turned down to ten after Macgregor received a second yellow card, but we hold stand and as a result we are qualified for the next round already! And even better: nobody can overtake us anymore for the first spot so we can play our entire reserve team against Belgium to give the key players some rest. Although we took the lead just after the pause we lost… Suddenly Belgium woke up and managed to score three goals afterwards. I’m not happy of course, but it confirmed once more that we only have some kind of a team that can battle for something if I can use the best eleven players.

Anyway, no big deal. We ended first in our group and are facing Ireland in the next round. Ireland is really growing over the last few years, but under normal circumstances we should be able to win this game and so reaching into the quarters. In which we have to play against Croatia, another team against we are definitely not without any change in advance. But first Ireland. I started with my best eleven players (of course, duh!) and we controlled the match entirely. Just before half time we rewarded ourselves with the more then deserved 1-0 via As-Chainey. After the pause we did exactly the same and Ireland couldn’t do anything. It lasted till the 80th minute before they even hit their very first shot. But we forgot to double the score earlier before and of course we had to pay the price for it…

Completely out of nowhere Ireland scored a goal after set-pieces just three minutes before the end of the match. Of course from set-pieces. At least 80% of the goals we concede over the last two years are from set-pieces (just as it was before with Spurs and Spartans…). The free kick was headed with a huge bow on the crossbar and of course it felt just before the feet of one of those Irish fuckers. Although my goalkeeper needs to push this kind of balls over the bar in the first place, but yeah, he is pretty terrible remember…

So, extra time. With a boosted Ireland and a slammed Scotland. An that affected us immediately a couple of minutes later when Ireland scored again. Of course from a set-piece, but that wasn’t even a surprise anymore… From their only two shots on target so far they scored two goals whilst we have missed three out of the four sitters we had during the first ninety minutes. It’s so unfair… After Ireland took the lead we pushed with all we’ve got, but off course we weren’t able to create anything afterwards… And so we lost in the second knock-out round. Yes, I’ve got truly FM’ed here…Again I lost a match in which I was the better team. It happened so many times before during my entire career and it seems it just had to end like this once more. Crowning my work in what was supposed to be my very last trick wasn’t given to me at all apparently.

This is it I guess. Not the end I was hoping for obvious. Surviving one more knock-out round would have been much more satisfying to me, especially because we just need to win games like the Ireland one. But yeah, it fits perfectly in this entire career. A couple of amazing highlights, but way too many very poor results thanks to some huge portions of bad luck all the time… It followed me my entire career. Anyway, I have deserved my retirement now I guess. I’m seventy years old these days, it’s enough. I will keep in charge as the Spartans chairman in the background, but not having the daily pressure anymore is all worth it right now! But, stay tuned once more. Next time I will present the promised overview of my entire career to you, together with some throwbacks in the past and seeing how some of the most important players are performing currently or have performed during my career.
Not the ending you truly deserved but you accomplished a lot. It has been a fantastic story to follow!
A shame to see those pesky set-pieces coming back and biting you once more in what turned out to be your final game in management. I wonder how many more trophies you'd have won without those going against you!

#143 - Luke Henderson, surely not the new Sir Alex Ferguson

I was hoping to match up with Sir Alex Ferguson’s career at some point, but that never happened. Not even close to be honest! However, I loved this career pretty much, especially because I joined a couple of clubs I’m a fan of in real life as well. Not always as successful though, but sometimes it just don’t fit together. In this last major update I will take you with me through all the clubs I managed and there will be some kind of a structure in it. First I will do a summarize of my performances at the club, followed by highlighting a couple of players during this years. That can be everybody, but if possible I will try to pick players who are still in the game these days so I can show how they developed and maybe even turned into a staff member. Finalized by a quick heads-up how the club performed after I left. First we are starting with the birth of my career as a manager with Spartans.

2019 - 2025 The early days at Spartans

After a couple of years of rest after my retirement as a player I joined Spartans in 2019. My very first club in a role as a manager. The club took part in Scottish League One, the third tier in Scottish football. Because I turned down the transfer window this first summer I had to deal with the guys who were already there. It made this challenge even harder, but I’m definitely not avoiding any challenge for sure! The first year we did alright. We finished 8th in the league, only four points away for reaching into the play-offs. With the possibly to strengthen our squad in the summer we should do better next year. But that doesn’t sort out as I wanted. It was a difficult second season in which the very first glimmer of all the bad luck I faced during my entire career was coming in. We ended 8th in the league again with slightly more points then the year before, but missed the sixth spot by only one point…

Time for some transfers again to bring us further up the ladder. That sorted out perfectly in my third season. Especially the signing of our first proper goalkeeper made a huge difference, called Joe Young. We had a very solid season all around without big dropdowns and that resulted in the clubs long awaited promotion into the Championship after we finished first! But the following task isn’t the easiest one for sure, with some very limited financial possibilities we have to make sure we are not getting relegated immediately afterwards. But that was no problem at all. We picked up some experienced players on a free, loaned in an Estonian centre back called Mike Henn (who was a superb upgrade for us by the time) from our affiliated club Hearts and finished the season without any concerns for relegation. Actually we did a great job for finishing eight with only five points behind for a play-off spot!

So the fifth season must become a game changer. Invest whatever we can and battle for a play-off spot. But that doesn’t sort out as I was hoping for. These days we started to struggle with our status as a semi-professional organized club. We reached a point we couldn’t attract better players and that harmed us for the next two seasons. We could match up with the couple of weaker professional organized sides in the league, but overtake the better ones was to much of an ask yet and in the next two seasons we finished ninth and seventh. Close to a play-off spot but at the same time so far off. After the sixth season I decide to step aside. I asked the board multiple times to become fully professional, but they refused to do so over and over again. I don’t want to get stuck over here, so when the next opportunity came in the decision was easy to make. A bit with pain in my heart because I loved Spartans already, but apparently the club didn’t love Luke Henderson just as much.

Notable persons
Actually the two most notable guys were Bryan Griffiths and Max Ashmore, but I mentioned them many times before during my career and they are long forgotten already in the game. So we are searching for somebody else who earned some notice. I have found two guys. The first one is the first proper goalkeeper I signed, Joe Young. He joined Spartans for five years and played many games in that period. After those five years he moved to Queens Park between 2026 and 2031 and played many games again at Championship level, although he was loaned out to Forfar for half a season, who were playing in League One by the time.

After all those years he joined Spartans again in 2031 and stayed with them till the end of his career in 2036. Again he played almost every match, but sadly he was there when Spartans got relegated back into League One in the 2034/2035 season. He played one more year on that level of football until he retired. Joe Young has won two trophies in his career, both League One titles, one with Spartans in 2022 together with me and one whit Forfar in 2030.

The other guy is Dougie Grant. My biggest signing in my first period at Spartans. Paying £18,000 was serious money for us by the time! And he was a good player for sure. He was one of my key players in those two seasons and also in his last season for Spartans when I already left he did a good job. Inverness picked him up the year afterwards, but apparently Premiership level was a bit to high for him. In three year time he played only four matches before he joined several clubs in the Championship again after the Inverness period. But he never touched the level of football again he did under my command. Sadly Grant never won a trophy throughout his career and relegated twice from Championship football with Clydebank and Dumbarton.

After his career as a player he became a trainer. But not really a good one actually. He managed the under-18 team of Kelso Town for six consecutive years whilst their main squad was performing in the Lowland League during this whole period. Currently he is unemployed and I have some doubts he will ever join a club as a staff member again.

How performed Spartans since I left
We all know I joined Spartans once more many years later, so here I will mention about the period between 2025 and 2039 only. The rest will come later on. After I left the club in 2025 Spartans took part in the Scottish Championship for many years on. Mainly as a solid mid-table side, but in the 2033/2034 season manager Chris Ferguson did a great job for finishing sixth, whilst Spartans still being a semi-professional organized side. But that was the one and only highlight. They were eliminated in the first round already and in the next season everything went terribly wrong. Ferguson was sacked before January already, but the new appointed manager Willie Robertson couldn’t avoid relegation anymore.

After performing thirteen consecutive seasons in the second tier of Scottish Football Spartans is basically back at the same point where it all began with me at the wheel. When Robertson left and Eddie Henderson came in everything went better. After Spartans couldn’t fight back immediately, one year later Henderson forced a comeback into the Championship and the next two years thereafter he handled to finish eighteenth in that league. Not really great, but you have to take into account many more clubs by the time were already turned into a professional side. Just before I joined the club again Spartans turned into a professional organized club as well and the years afterwards is history now!

2025 - 2031 Become big in Scotland with Hearts

Although, that was the plan. But I wasn’t prepared to find a big mess which was left behind over here by the managers before me. A big Italian mess actually. I ended up with selling a lot of players because many of them didn’t have a valid work permit in the first place. And because of the financial troubles I wasn’t able to spend many of the £20,000,000 we received this first transfer window either. Not the best circumstances to start a new job, especially not if the board is expecting some results immediately. Not realistic at all and at some point I was only one match away for getting sacked… We ended seventh in the league, were the board was expecting at least a fifth spot and gaining European football. That wasn’t the case at all and they invited me for having a chat with them.

The outcome was pretty clear: I need to make sure to gain ten points out of the first five matches next season. I succeeded and from then on I could steadily re-design this harmed club for the next few years. We ended fifth in my second season and even did win the Scottish League Cup, which was my very first major trophy this career! The year thereafter we performed absolutely amazing. We collected 97 points out of the available 114 but it was just one to short to win the league. Celtic was nearly invincible those years and with all the knowledge afterwards one of the so many moments during my career I missed some silverwork that I was only just a little bit off…

After this third season we pushed for the league title in the next three years as well, but we were never that close anymore. We finished third, fourth and third again in my last season. Someday Hearts can win the league for sure, but it wasn’t given to me yet. I don’t want to battle with Celtic and Rangers anymore, because it will take years before we are on their level in terms of finances and being in the possibility to fight for the league title again rather then finishing first or second just by accidence occasionally.

Notable persons
In my first season already I signed a brilliant player who wasn’t credited at all whilst at Aberdeen. I took him over for only £1,000,000 and Daniel Scullion kept with me all the way till the end. He was a left attacking winger who did a great job for me. Especially in the 2027/2028 he was absolutely brilliant. He scored the insane amount of 27(!) goals as a left-winger and took care for for fourteen assists as well. He even became a Scottish international at some point! After I left Hearts he stayed for one more year. In seven year time he played 192 matches for Hearts, scoring 53 goals. That is 1 out of 4, really not bad for a winger I would say! After Hearts he moved to the United States joining Real Salt Lake performing in the MLS. He was a key player for them as well, although he didn’t score as much anymore. During his career Scullion did won only one prize, the League Cup with Hearts. Of course with me in charge as his manager.

After his career as a player he became a manager. He joined Penicuik Athletic in 2039 and stayed with them for three-and-a-half years. He got relegated out of League Two in his first year, but despite that Penicuik kept faith in him. He couldn’t achieve promotion afterwards and after the 2042/2043 season was done he left the club. He couldn’t find a new job and nowadays he is fully retired from football.

You might remember Lee Saunders. One of the very few talents during my entire career who did make it into the first squad as a youth intake prospect. Actually he was still playing when I searched for him just a season ago in 2047, but that was his last season as well. So unfortunately I just missed the chance to show his attributes all the way to the end of his career. After he did a great job for us during the five years in which he scored 59 league goals in 130 appearances he was sold to Manchester City for a record breaking amount of £22,500,000. Although he performed quite well during the 20 matches he played for them he became never a starting player. Celtic brought him back to Scotland and again he was doing bits with 94 goals in 184 matches in a period of five year time. At the age of 28 he moved to another big club once more for his second attempt in a major competition. This time he joined Atlético Madrid. But again it wasn’t a huge success with only scoring 5 goals in 24 matches. After only a year he was sold again and joined Brighton. That became pretty successful but when he was getting aged they sold him to Leicester City. After another decent year he moved to Italy were he starts to decline heavily. But he wasn’t done with football yet. When 33 years old he moved to Russia, probably to earn some big money in the winter of his career. He stayed at Arsenal Tula for another two-and-a-half years, scoring 17 goals in 59 appearances.

He also became a very successful Scottish International. He scored 53 goals in 116 matches, being the player with the most international goals for Scotland after David Finlayson. In his entire career he collected 11 trophies. Being 4 League Cups (one with both Hearts and City and two with Celtic), a Premiership title with Manchester City, three consecutive Scotch Cup titles with Celtic between 2034 and 2036 and two Archie Gemmill Trophies.

How performed Hearts since I left
After I left the club they kept a very decent team in the league. Beside the 2038/2039 season (9th) they finished within the first six all the time and so qualifying for European football almost every season. At some point they managed to win the league in the 2040/2041 season as well, exactly the same year when I got promoted with Spartans. Finally they managed to force a break through the Celtic and Rangers hegemony which lasted for a stunning 56 years by the time! In the years there after Hearts did a very good job as well, with ending second the year afterwards, ending third the next two seasons and finalized this very good period with another league title in 2045. So they proved they can be a successful team in Scotland for sure!

Beside the league their most notable achievement will be the 2040/2041 Europa Conference League run which lasted all the way to the final. Sadly Leicester City was to strong that day, but Hearts did a hell of job for sure that specific season. But that’s not all yet! They have won the Scotch Cup twice in 2040 and 2045, managed to win the League Cup in 2037, 2039 and 2042 and celebrated their win in the Archie Gemmill Trophy three times as well in 2040, 2041 and 20245. So all summarized we could say Hearts was quite successful the years afterwards!
Luke Henderson's avatar Group Luke Henderson
2 yearsEdited

2032 - 2037 The Tottenham era

After one sabbatical year Luke Henderson is back! I wanted a big club and I was waiting for the right one passing by. That happened in the summer of 2032 when Jürgen Klopp got sacked and I took my chance. After I had a good chat with chairman Daniel Levy he gave me the Tottenham job! A dream was coming true, being a manager at one of the biggest clubs in England and one of my favourite ones personally as well. But it wasn’t that bright to be honest. Again I had to deal with a big mess in the first place. There were more than sixty(!) players over here with a full professional contract. So I had to use my sweeper once more. Which made the importancy of money even more clear. I sold more then twenty players in only one month time, gaining a total amount of money of around £170,000,000 and spending not a single penny for new players. That wasn’t really needed either, there were some very good players over here already.

In my first year we finished fifth. Nothing great, but decent enough to keep myself in the saddle for building further into the future. Tottenham still didn’t win the Premier League yet since 1961. After this first year I started to invest and the first big names were joining us. You remember Ronnie Adams for sure, but also Carl Cordner and Stijn Bredewolt joined us. We did slighty better and ended fourth in the league, the best performance for Spurs since the 2018/2019 season. We also managed to win the FA Cup, my second major trophy this career and my first one after seven years of drought. Next summer we went really big! I spend over £230,000,000 for new players, amongst them were Nathan Reyes, Guglielmo Tocci and Craig MacDonald. But it didn’t sort out properly. We finished fourth again in the league, which was very disappointingly for sure. Luckily we did way better in Europe. We reached into the final of the Champions League, my only European Cup final during this entire career. Sadly we lost after penalties against Liverpool, who were in their greatest time that period.

But the fourth season was all mine. After a ridiculous end of the season we reached our main goal, winning the Premier League! An absolutely brilliant performance, also because we managed to win the League Cup and another FA Cup! In my fifth and final season at Spurs I tried to push once more to win the Champions League, but it didn’t sort out. We lost in the semi’s against Napoli after a very poor performance… A very close loss, but a loss is a loss. In the league we performed terrible as well, we only ended fifth and I felt my end was near. I decided to left the club at the end of the season before they taking their shot to sack me anyway.

Notable persons
It’s eleven years ago now when I left Spurs, so it might be possible some players are still active currently. One of them is Ronnie Adams of course. I just mentioned him already and I do have a very strong connection with him this entire career. I bought him for big money when he was only seventeen, but I believed in him from the very first day on. He was my starting player very soon and I met him again when being the Scotland manager. But his career is well known already, so I’m not highlighting him this time. No, there were some very interesting other players as well during my period at Spurs. And some of them are still playing!

The first one is Guglielmo Tocci, an attacking right-winger. One of the very few players I fell in love with immediately when I first saw him. I wanted him earlier already, but sadly he chose for Bayern Munich in the first place. But no hard feelings. Although he didn’t performed really bad over there he couldn’t convince their manager completely and I picked him up in 2034. He did a great job, especially in the 2035/2036 season when we handled to win all three major trophies in England. But after I left Spurs the new appointed manager (Klopp again) immediately sold him to Udinese. After only one season AS Roma picked up their former youth player and he stayed with them for five seasons where he became one of their starting players. After he scored eight goals in the 2042/2043 season Juventus made him an offer, but he made it to become a key player over there as well. He spend his final years in Spain in the Segunda Division, which is definitely not the end he deserved in my opinion. After he handled to win all prizes with me at Spurs he never won another trophy afterwards. His only achievement was the relegation with Udinese in 2038. After his retirement in 2047 he became a manager (a very bad one actually given his attributes), now waiting for his chance to take the lead somewhere.

Another guy I signed became a world-class superstar. I bought Belgium striker Julien Gautier in 2035 for around £26,500,000. After I brought him in slightly during my last two years at Tottenham the next managers could take the benefits from him. And so they did. Until now he banged in 240 league goals in 421 appearances. But even more insane: 99 international goals for Belgium in only 128 matches. What about that! Absolutely stunning. Currently he is still one of the best strikers in the world and with 32 years old definitely not written off yet.

Underneath you will find some other guys you might recognize. The career of Carl Cordner, one of my very first signings when I joined Spurs, slightly faded away into anonymity throughout the years. Although he won 14 trophies during his career, even a European Championship with England in 2032. But his best period was at Spurs for sure. Nathan Reyes was the player I paid the most for during my entire career (over £90,000,000) but it doesn’t sort out at all. After he performed amazingly well at Bayern Munich he never faced a really good season afterwards beside the 2041/2042 season whilst at Juventus. An highly overrated player for which I paid way to much money with the knowledge afterwards. After he left Spurs in 2040 he never won another prize.

Nicholas Alexander-Spence was one of my big signings as well. Although he had a successful career all day long I was expecting a little bit more to be honest. His attributes were absolute gold but that didn’t sort out on the pitch entirely I would say. His career ended two years ago at the age of 37. Edoardo Grieco was one of my centre backs who was already at Spurs when I joined them. An Italian beast who I spotted just a couple of weeks ago whilst at the European Championship, he was still taking part of the Italian squad! In 2045 he returned to Italy for joining Lazio Roma and currently he is playing at Sassuolo. Probably his last year as a footballer, but I won’t argue him if you can earn that amount of money at this age!

The last two guys are called Fabien Gasser and Flavien Peter. Gasser being one of my best players all around in this career and the other one (Peter) being one of my biggest bad buys ever. I mean he should be amazingly good given his attributes but it didn’t sort out in either way. But when this bastard left Spurs he become insane again at Real Madrid and there after at Manchester United as well… Apparently I didn’t use him in his best role (I did, but for some reason it doesn’t worked out). Well, sometimes you have to admit a relationship isn’t working and that was the case with Peter for sure. Currently he is still a footballer, joining Bournemouth the upcoming season. During his career he has won almost thirty trophies until now. Quite amazing I would say!

How performed Tottenham since I left
Well, definitely not bad at all! After I left all the following managers have won some silverwork at some point. Jürgen Klopp managed to win another Premiership title in 2039, but he is mostly renowned because he handled to win the Champions League in 2040, where after he immediately ended his career at the age of 72(!). Furthermore he has won two consecutive FA Cup titles in 2038 and 2039, one League cup and one Community Shield. Then Kristoffer Ajer kept the wheel in his hands. Although he was fired after only one-and-a-half season he managed to win another FA Cup trophy and the Community Shield a couple of months later.

But the true legend became Tamas Kadar who joined Spurs in 2042 and kept in charge for the next five years after he was sacked. He managed to win three league titles in a row between 2044 and 2046 and did win both the FA Cup and League Cup and two Community Shields as well. As a player he wasn’t very successful, but as a manager he definitely is! Currently Vincent Camara is in charge, a 48-year old regen manager. In his first year he managed to win the Europa League in 2048. So we could say after I realised the big breakthrough by winning the league in 2036 Spurs became very successful afterwards!

2037 - 2038 The fall

How to ruin your own career in just one year time. Well, that is what happened in Bilbao. Another dream came true when this job came available just after I left Tottenham. I’m a huge fan of Athletic in real life, not in the last place because of their unique club philosophy. I knew this was going to be a hard one for sure, but I couldn’t resist the call to join Athletic at this point in my career. I’m usually playing with Athletic from scratch in nearly every version of Football Manager. So this is a whole different way for me to join this remarkable club.

But Athletic is struggling. For many years already. Last season they finished even eleventh. Far to low for a club like this. I was completely prepared for a long term contract again, which is definitely needed for a club like Athletic. They are completely dependent on their youth system and if there are not many good youngsters available at some point you have to accept a couple of dull seasons. But apparently the board couldn’t and expected me to reach at least into European football. Nearly impossible I would say, but I just had to do it. After a changeable season in which we were eliminated in the Copa Del Rey early on as well, we finished eight. Not great, not bad either. Just solid I would say and a good starting point to build further onwards. But the board didn’t agree… Maybe I discussed a little bit to much with them during the meeting we had at the end of the season, but before I even knew everything about the club I was sacked already…

Maybe they does have give me another chance when I agreed with them completely during the chat, but saying what they like to hear didn’t felt good to me. So I argued their opinion, a little bit too much at the end I think. Anyway, my reputation was hugely broken after only one season. My star reputation dropped down from 4,5 till 3,5 and no other big club wanted me at that point. Quite strange, because other ‘big’ managers who are messing up everything year after year are still being asked by the big clubs over and over again. But to be honest I didn’t wanted a big club at all anymore. No. I want to go back to Scotland. For doing the one unfulfilled task I started this career for.

Notable persons
The funny thing is that a couple of players I signed or brought into the main squad from the academy in this single year are still playing for Athletic currently and some of them did become a club icon as well. So their recent successes are actually part of mine as well I would say, ha-ha! Still have the idea they didn’t gave me enough time tough… Anyway, it’s always fun to see how those players performed throughout the years. The first one is called Miguel Royo. I bought him one year in advance by the time, a very talented striker who joined Athletic when I was already sacked. Quite insane if you think about it actually. But this guy was an amazing signing and one of the main reasons why Athletic did slightly better year after year since I left. He is 31-years old right now and already started to decline physically sadly. But he is still one of their best players, who took care for 105 goals in 333 league appearances. Not really great for a striker, but I think he wasn’t always used as I striker, more like a winger, which isn’t his best position given his lack of pace I would say. Who knows how much he could have scored if they didn’t sack me… Unfortunately I don’t have a screenshot of him when he was young.

Another huge signing was Julen Calderón who joined us for around £20,000,000 from Inter Milan. A very good right full-back who played a lot of games for Athletic. Not the best average ratings during his career for sure, but full-backs are a bit underpowered in this version of FM I would say, just as the goalkeepers ratings are. At some point they even sold him for big money to Manchester United. Although that didn’t sort out properly. Currently he is still playing football at Sporting Portugal.

I also bought a very decent goalkeeper who was actually getting better and better afterwards! Since I left the club he played almost every match and currently he is still their starting goalkeeper at the age of 35. He kept a decent amount of clean sheets throughout his career and his average ratings are really not bad for a goalkeeper. Although it might become a problem when this guy is retiring. Currently in game I couldn’t find another decent Basque goalkeeper yet…

There were also a few youngsters from the academy I introduced into the main squad who are still at the club. Néstor López for instance was one of my greatest talents. Iker Estrada became a key player at a certain point after there were many doubts about him in his early days (even by me). Left full-back Igor Flaño is one of the starting players as well and what about Fernando Agirre who I bought in the winter of 2037 from Osasuna. He is still their main centre back currently.

Actually It’s quite surprising how many players are still there after all those years. And even a handful of players I bought or introduced in the main squad. It caresses my ego partly I have to admit. I definitely did something good over there, although that board during my days over there doesn’t confirm that for sure. Oh dear, I still have some anger in me if I think about my sacking once again… I could have done such nice thinks with this club with all those players. At least way better then the other managers did over the last decade as you can read below… At the other hand, then I would have missed my insane return at Spartans!

How performed Athletic since I left
As expected it wasn’t great at all. Actually it was getting more worse again in the following year after I left when they finished eleventh… I’m pretty sure I will have done better then that. Without any doubts. The next year they recovered a little bit with finishing eight and from then on they took their benefits from the developed youngsters I brought in. During the next eight years they finished seventh last year, sixth twice, fifth once, fourth three times and their best performance took place during the 2045/2046 season when they finished third. Not really special at all I would say, I think I could have done at least the same. They didn’t won a Copa del Rey or Supercopa either but then there was the year 2046/2047.

Suddenly from nowhere they handled to win the Europa League after Nestor Lopez (had to mentioned him!) banged in a 120+1st minute winner in the additional time under the command of manager Reto Ziegler! A couple of months later he also managed to win the European Super Cup as well, although he was getting fired only six months later. This club doesn’t have any patience at all, don’t they? I’m worried already when I do start a game with this club from scratch soon…
Luke Henderson's avatar Group Luke Henderson
2 yearsEdited

2039 - 2045 Resurrected, imagine the impossible

There we are. After almost fifteen years I’m back home. Far more experienced, but with a heavily dented image after the Bilbao job. But who cares at Spartans. They are glad already a guy with a reputation like me is joining this modest club! After taking a year off the last episode in what is supposed to be my final job this career is starting to begin. A second attempt to reach into the highest tier of Scottish football with Spartans and maybe battling for the Premiership title someday. There is only one big difference in comparison with my first period: Spartans has turned into a fully professional organized side, which will make things more easier for sure.

But the first season was a really tough one. Actually I didn’t expect at all it was this tough! There was barely no money left to invest and I had to make use of left-overs and guys who are available for a loan period. The two seasons before Spartans ended eighteenth in the league and I wasn’t able to do it far better. We finished fifteenth and for a sec I was doubting for the very first time about my abilities for being a manager. Especially because of my age. But the board and fans kept faith in me and were supporting me completely, just as all the players did.

I decided to invest £1,000,000 from my own money every season and that sorted out pretty soon. We were able to attract slightly better players and suddenly I realised my period with Spurs can bring me some other benefits as well. I asked the big clubs in England for some good players who are available on loan and that was gold for sure. Among other things Adam Jeffries joined us and he was absolutely brilliant. In this second season we performed really great and after some struggles with a club called Stenhousemuir we were able to sustain our second spot in the league and therefore we were rewarded with direct promotion into the highest tier of Scottish Football. Could you believe! Apparently I’m still a good manager tough!

But there wasn’t much time to celebrate. Avoiding immediate relegation is our first priority right now. Once more I travelled all the way down to England for having a chat with the big clubs about loaning in some talented youngsters who are not ready for their first squad yet. That sorted out perfectly. Before I even know it two guys called Mike Williamson and David Griffiths-Trevor were sniffing around in Edinburgh. Together with some other very decent signings like Will Walker-Nightingale and Jamie Gray we were able to finish thirteenth in the league, avoiding relegation or even a battle for it by twelve points. Now the base is laid down for the future!

In the next few years thereafter we kept dependent on loaning in good players. We didn’t have the finances yet to buy these players ourselves, but that didn’t last long. In my fourth season at the club we ended fifth! An awesome performance, but because of some silly guys from Airdrie we missed qualification for our very first European football appearance. One of the so many moments of bad luck again. I was completely sick about it for days. But our ultimate revenge didn’t last long. In the 2043/2044 season, my fifth year at the club this second period, we realised the impossible. After a completely insane last playing round we crowned ourselves as the Scottish Champion for the very first time in the club history. Completely unreal, but it just happened. With Celtic and Rangers still spending at least five times more at wages than us we kept everybody behind us! An absolutely marvellous achievement and now we even have to play in the Champions League next season, not to talk about all the millions we will receive right now. I think I can grab my money back now!

I was thinking about retiring after this huge achievement, but I couldn’t Spartans letting behind now in the unknown world of European football. That doesn’t felt right at all. I had some experience in Europe when at Hearts and Spurs, so I decide to stay one more year. That was a good decision for sure. I mean, we even survived the group stage in the Champions League and faced Manchester City in a fully loaded Etihad in the first knock-out round! Absolutely amazing and I’m glad now I didn’t miss it. We received ship-tonnes of money thanks to this and the next few years the future of this club will be secured for sure!

In the league we finished only third, but winning the Archie Gemmill trophy at the start of the season against Rangers and winning the League Cup as well did satisfy me entirely. I can left the club behind now knowing that they can go on for years. If they are not doing stupid things they should be able to match up with Celtic and Rangers in about a couple of years for sure.

Notable persons
Off course I can’t ignore Mike Williamson and David Griffiths-Trevor, so I’m immediately starting with those two guys who were standing at the crib whilst Spartans was only a modest club in the Premiership yet. Both joined us on loan in the summer of 2041 and kept with me all the way till the end. Also the new appointed manager Kirk Broadfoot recognized the qualities of Mike Williamson. He also signed him on loan for the 2045/2046 season. Although he wasn’t as good when I was at the wheel. After his fifth season with us Brighton gave him a fair chance in the Premier League but it doesn’t sort out properly. One year later they sold him for good money to Leeds United who are competing in the English Championship. A good player for them for sure, although I’m still convinced he would be a valuable player for any Premier League side between the spots 12 till 17 or such.

Maybe David Griffiths-Trevor did better when he returned to his own club, being Liverpool. A bit tougher in comparison with Williamson, but I think Griffiths-Trevor is also a slightly better player in his position. But that doesn’t sort out either. Liverpool gave him a (fair?) chance in which he didn’t achieve very bad I would say given the fact he scored a very good amount of goals and assists as well, but he probably couldn’t compete with all the world-class players they have. So Liverpool sold him to German Bundesliga side Freiburg. A very strange move, he could do better I would say. Until now he didn’t performed really good over there either. It’s probably the most physical competition all over Europe and if Griffiths-Trevor lacks one thing then it will be his physicals… Maybe Spartans should consider buying him. They probably could, although I’m not sure they can pay his wage, which is pretty damn good.

One of our first major upgrades was centre back Oliver Farmer. He did a good job for us, but when we realized promotion together with him and keeping us in the Premiership next season he has become superfluous because we needed better players by the time. But to be honest I was a bit surprised to find him back in the basement of English football. From Scottish Premiership all the way down to the fourth tier in English football. So you probably expect he will be superb for them. No way. He was even getting worse and worse throughout the years. Very strange I would say. Although he became a starting player at Fylde for five seasons long and now with Blackpool for one season in League Two as well he should have done better for sure. This is probably one of the most weird developments of a player I have seen so far in this game.

Last but not least is striker Joel Lombard. I loaned him in for just one season. The season we became the Champion partly because of him. He banged in 23 goals in just as many matches. If he wasn’t getting heavily injured at some point he would have scored at least 35 goals I think. We tried to loan him in for another season but Everton wanted him themselves. Fair enough, he is a brilliant striker who will be good enough for sure I think. So, how did he performed with them? Well, not really great at all. His first full season at Premier League level wasn’t that bad, but apparently it wasn’t good enough as of Everton standards. He played a few matches in the next two seasons before they send him on loan once again. This time he joined Rangers. He did okay, but definitely not as good as he was doing with us. Given his attributes he should be an amazing striker but is doesn’t sort out yet beside that season with us. I truly hope he will pick up some form soon, otherwise he will end up in the Championship or such as well I guess…

How performed Spartans since I left
Well, are you surprised If I say they managed to win another league title? They did. Before the last playing round they were only ranked third last season, but another insane last playing day mixed everything up just like the 2043/2044 season. Another league title for Spartans after they finished third in 2045 and 2046 and second in 2047. Could you believe! Manager Kirk Broadfoot who took the lead after me is doing amazing things currently! He also managed to win two more Archie Gemmill Trophies and reached into the European Conference League semi final in 2047. I was convinced he could do a good job after I recommenced him as my successor, but I didn’t expect this to be honest!

2044 - 2048 Payback time

Spartans was supposed to be my last job, but when the Scotland job came available I couldn’t resist the call. Do something back for the country from which I ow so much throughout my entire career is the least thing I could possible do. And so I came in charge as the Scotland manager for the period between 2044 and 2048, hopefully qualifying ourselves for both the World Cup and the European Championship of 2048, being my final trick as a football manager. For one year I did both the Spartans and Scotland job at the same time, but in a year without big tournament that is possible to do. But when the Spartans job was done I was glad to have my hands free to fully concentrate myself for Scotland!

Although managing a country isn’t that exciting in Football Manager. I asked myself frequently why I’m actually doing this? It isn’t fun at all and this squad is probably not good enough anyway to achieve something. But I will always ending things which I’m started with, that’s just my personality you know. And so I did for the next four years. As expected it wasn’t great. In the Nations League we were only there to fill the group (although this tournament says nothing to me at all) and the route to the World Cup 2046 wasn’t very excited either. We managed to qualify ourselves quite comfortable and the actual tournament itself isn’t very challenging either. The group stage is quite easy to survive given the fact two out of the three countries are going further. Thereafter it all depends on the draw and that wasn’t with us. We survived the second round miraculously against Ghana, but the next one against Germany was a step to far, although we gave them a good game.

The main focus is set for the European Championship now. The set-up of this tournament is much nicer and we qualified ourselves pretty easy again. But the lack of natural growth of talents in Scotland over the last couple of years harmed us. We had to deal with a lot of guys who are around thirty, which isn’t a problem because they are still very good, but I’m more worried about the next few years actually… Our practicing matches didn’t gave us much hope for this tournament but when the tournament has started we played far better suddenly! We destroyed Russia in our first match, beat Denmark in the second and were able to rest a lot of the key players in the third match against Belgium. Which we lost, but we finished first in the group anyway.

In the first knock-out round we faced Ireland. A very solid opponent we should be aware of, but we played a very good game actually. We controlled them almost the entire game, but one single moment of lacking some concentration hits us hard… And even harder in the additional time. We weren’t able to force a turnaround and so we lost. Completely undeserved, but that doesn’t count. You need to be there when it matters and we didn’t. It fits perfectly in the story of this entire career in which I faced so much bad luck. But no matter what, we are eliminated and the career of Luke Barra Henderson faded away somewhat quietly at the end.

2019 - 2048 The complete overview

Although the screenshots above does show all the statistics and prizes I have won, it doesn’t show which prices these actually are and it doesn’t show the runner-up positions and minor cups either. So, to finalize this utterly career overview, I have put all my achievements during this career in a simplified list underneath. Domestic titles are in bold.

Notable club achievements
2022 | Spartans | League One
2027 | Hearts | League Cup
2028 | Hearts | Runner-up Premiership
2034 | Tottenham | FA Cup
2035 | Tottenham | Runner-up Champions League
2036 | Tottenham | FA Cup
2036 | Tottenham | League Cup
2036 | Tottenham | Premier League
2037 | Tottenham | Community Shield
2041 | Spartans | Runner-up Championship
2044 | Spartans | Premiership
2044 | Spartans | Runner-up Scotch Cup
2045 | Spartans | Archie Gemmill Trophy
2045 | Spartans | League Cup

Notable personal achievements
2026 | Hearts | Manager of the year
2036 | Tottenham | Manager of the year
2038 | Athletic Club | Manager of the year*
2044 | Spartans | Manager of the year
* Ha-ha, of course not!

What next?
Well, this story is ending and I’m not coming back with another one. I writing one story at most for each Football Manager I’m buying. But buying the next Football Manager can take some time now. I’m pretty much done with some aspects of the game which are annoying me heavily. Some issues are mentioned year after year by the hard-core fans of this franchise, but in my opinion SI doesn’t give enough attention to it. Especially the need for a new match-engine will (or actually must) become one of their main targets from now on. All the problems this version of the game had with the match engine during the first three months when this game was deployed proved that once more. I’m not buying a new version anymore before they announced an entirely new build match engine.

But I love this game to much to throw it away in some kind of a dusty corner right now! I just need to play with Athletic Bilbao again from scratch, just as I always do in every version of the game. I like that club and the philosophy of it. I just can’t ignore it. Actually I’m still quite upset about the fact they sacked me after only one season in this career! And I wasn’t even performing that bad!

So I guess I need to deal with all the issues a little while longer… All the joy this game is giving me is still taking the lead rather then complaining about all the issues this game struggles with (although it reached a certain point now in my case for which I’m not accepting it any longer for newer versions if no major changes are taking place). This Luke Henderson career is probably the longest I have ever had as long as I can remember I’m playing FM, and that’s partly because of you guys! All the support, celebrating the few moments of happiness after winning some silverwork and arguing with me when I complained about the game once again. Deeply thanks to all of you (especially to Scott and TheLFCFan who joined me from the early days on!) and keep up the good work for this community! Salute!
It's been a good ride. Thanks for everything!
An incredible journey wonderfully summed up in these posts. From the struggles in the early days with Spartans as a semi-pro side. Then joining Hearts in your very first big move. At Spurs you built yourself a legacy winning them their first title in recent memory. That reputation took a hit at Bilbao but you certainly cemented yourself as one of the greats when you returned to Spartans and did the unthinkable. The national team job was a great end to an incredible career.

Thank you for the hard work you have clearly put into this story and despite your thoughts on not buying anymore versions, I hope to see you back soon enough!

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