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FM21 Newcastle United - Back to the Top!

In this save I try to go around 20 years back in time and make the Newcastle United great again!
Started on 23 November 2020 by ippe
Latest Reply on 11 January 2021 by Dave_Finny
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I have a thing for Premier League clubs with history. I feel Newcastle United has far greater potential than what they are currently showing. Steve Bruce's style of football makes me sad and I'm not even a Newcastle fan.

Anwyay, things are about to change in the North as I take the charge. I plan to achieve success with postivi tactics and with the help of young players.

I used 4-4-2 formation and my tactics were influenced by RB Leipzig's irl tactics. You can actually download my tactic from here:

Season 2020/21

I was predicted to finish 10th in the League and when I suggested my players that we could avoid relegation battle, they got angry at me for being unrealistic. I knew better, so I didn't mind but I think that was funny considering how the things would end.

Before the season I signed few players to boost my chances. I wanted to sign ball playing defender who had better pace than my current options, so I went for Ezri Konsa from Aston Villa. Alfredo Morelos joined from Rangers to boost my attacking options and I also signed Jefferson Lerma from relegated Bournemouth. I tend to do little wheeling and dealing and Ander Barrenetxea is a great example of this.

In January I signed Jerome Onguene to get more options in the back, Maxime Collin to offer some cover in full back position and snapped up Moussa Diaby from Leverkusen for just £5m!

Fixtures can be seen here:

I started strong, struggled a bit in the middle and finished great. In the end I managed to greatly over-perform the expectations and finished to 3rd postion!

Squad stats in PL

Plan for the next season

After achieving the seansational 3rd postion and booking a place in next season UCL, I plan to go big in transfer market and make the most out of my great first season.

Mike Ashley gave me plenty of money as you can see from the signings, but NUFC finally got new owners during the season. The new owners aren't throwing money around like crazy, but I'd expect my great achievments to be rewarded with larger transfer kit.
ippe's avatar Group ippe
3 yearsEdited
I decided to share my playthrough with you. I have already finished my 2nd season too, but I'll post it tomorrow.

I've played FM for a decade but this is my first time of posting a story, so feedback, comments, etc. are more than welcome!

Edit: I think it would make more interesting content if I do few months a time, so you get to sort of live the journey with me, so I do that from the next season on!

Newcastle United season 2021/22

Summer of 2021

After qualifing for the UCL, I planned to make big moves, and boy did I make them.

As we learned from the first post, Everton got relagated in bizarre fashion after finishing 18th in the league and I immediatly planned to acquire some of their players.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was the first player I thought about. To be fair striker probably wasn't my biggest need in the transfer window, but when you get an opportunity to sign a top player, you need to take it! As a powerful English forward DCL also reminds me of a club legend Alan Shearer, so I had to go for him. Thanks to Everton's relegation he was available for cheap-ish £32,5 million.

You can see Calvert-Lewin's player profile in here:

As mentioned I like RB group's transfer business and I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I signed few players from the RB group. First I went for the Hungarian wonderkid Dominic Szoboszlai from RB Salzburg and then for Nordi Mukiele from RB Leipzig. These players cost me £30m and £34 millions respectively, so they were rather expensive but as a young players they are likely to stay in my team for years to come and also have a great re-sale value.

I broke the bank and probably threw the realism out of the window when I managed to sign Eduardo Camavinga from the Stade Rennais for £65 millions. Well, I guess Rennais finished 13th and I managed to finish 3rd, so maybe signing him is in the realm of possibilities here.

You can see Camavinga's player profile in here:

I also signed yet another centre back when Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic joined for £35m.

I also sold few players I didn't feel were up to the new standards to raise some money and trim the squad.

Transfers IN

Transfers OUT

Some pretty huge sums of money spent on those players. Your business in season one was fantastic with the signings made all seemingly to have the desired impact to lift you to an astonishing third place finish. Good luck in the upcoming season and hopefully another excellent season awaits.
2020-11-23 21:28#279137 ScottT : Some pretty huge sums of money spent on those players. Your business in season one was fantastic with the signings made all seemingly to have the desired impact to lift you to an astonishing third place finish. Good luck in the upcoming season and hopefully another excellent season awaits.


Every time I start a save, I tell myself that this time I'll hunt the bargains, make the best use of the transfer list etc. but in the end I jut can't help myself and go for that special player instead. In my defence, all of the transfer are proper covid transfers as I offer around 1/3 of the transfer fee up front and the rest in installments over time.

This is also my first save in FM21, so I gave myself a permission to go little crazy regarding transfers and stuff :)

Satrt of the 2021/22 season

I started a new season using last season's tactics. New signings Calvert-Lewin, Szoboszlai, Camavinga, Milenkovic and Mukiele went straight to the starting XI.

After finishing 3rd in season one, I set my goal to another European qualification. I'd like to qualify for the UCL for the 2nd time in a row but even after all the signings that might be a little tough ask. So, I think top 6 finish and place for the next seasons Uefa Europa League would be more realistic but still ambitious task and keep the club on a right track.

Newcastle United last won a major trophy in 1955 when they lifted the FA Cup, so ending a half a century long trophy drought is also on my to-do list, but achieving top 6 finish is my main goal for the season.

As you can see we had yet another strong start for the season winning 5 out fo the first 6 Premier League games.

I forgot to take a picture of my UCL group after the draw, so I'll make sure to do that next time. But basically we got a very tricky group as 4th seeded Newcastle were joined by FC Barcelona, Internazionale Milan and RB Leipzig.

The first UCL game was away at Barcelona and despite the scoreline being 3-0 against us, there were some positives in the game too. We bettered them in xG but the finishing skills of Leo Messi were too much. I guess no matter how well you defend there are always some situations in which you can't do much and I feel this was one of those cases.

Luckily, we bounced back from the defeat and managed to get good results in Premier League and in domestic cups. Then next two UCL games were at home against RB Leipzig and Inter and I'd imagine the home fans were absolutely thrilled to watch their boys against the best of Europe. We managed to crush Leipzig 4-1 and sneak a 1-0 victory over Inter to put us in 6 points from the possible 9.

As you can see, the start of Dominic Calvert-Lewin was especially pleasing as the Englishman scored game after game.

I didn't take a picture of the league table at the end of October and I'll fix this during the next season but with the record of 6-2-2 we were in the top six.
A good start to both your campaign domestically and in Europe.
Great story keep it going.

quick question did you not have work permit issues with Szoboszlai?

I went to sign him and they said he wouldn't get a permit.

I am also the Toon. Wilson got 39 goals in 35 games for me in the premier league. Something OP about him in this years game.
2020-11-24 09:40#279158 littlenufc : Great story keep it going.

quick question did you not have work permit issues with Szoboszlai?

I went to sign him and they said he wouldn't get a permit.

I am also the Toon. Wilson got 39 goals in 35 games for me in the premier league. Something OP about him in this years game.

Thanks for the comment!

I had no issue with his work permit, I think it went through after an appeal but according to my scouts that was always going to happen.

According to my transfer history I signed him in the 20/21 season despite finalising the deal at the 12th of June in 2021, so it was after the first season. Maybe this was before the new Brexit rules kicked in?

Wilson is indeed very good. Very calm and composed inside the box.

The second season strangeness

I don't know if this is a common problem, but if you were paying attention to the fixtues on my last post, you could see that we already played Wolves and Manchester United twice in the league despite it's only October.

Is it a bug, is it a feature... Who knows, but I for one don't care about it too much. It's not a big deal but it can skew the league table a little bit.

During the next span of games I started to realise that I've made some mistakes with my squad. I don't like to have a big squad but this time around I had too little options and when the fixture list got congested we had a dip in form.

Let's start with our remaining three UCL match ups and it was quite a mixed bag of results. First we had 3-3 draw against Inter. The game was surprisingly open and I started to see that my tactics weren't as waterproof as they were in my first season.

3-3 draw was followed by a 4-0 victory and revenge over FC Barcelona who had previously battered us 3-0. Our players wanted to prove themselves and now we have a tiebraker over Barcelona as we beat them by bigger margin than they did us. This game also guaranteed that we will advance to the knockout stage as other teams in the group had mixed results too.

In our final group game we were matched up with RB Leipzig. We lost 6-2 in what was my worst game as a manager of Newcastle United. Barcelona blew their game too, so we managed to win the group with a low total of 10 points.

Premier League games were sort of a mixed bag too. We had some nice wins but also heavy 4-0 defeat to Liverpool. We had poor results especially in January as we played 5 consecutive draws.

On a more positive note we managed to advance to the League Cup Final with 6-1 aggregate score over Chelsea.

However, the main conclusion from these games and boring 0-0 and 1-1 draws is that I need to tailor my tactics. The 4-4-2 tactic is good when I'm playing as an underdog but when I'm facing teams I'm supposed to win, it doesn't offer quite as much going forward as I'd like. This was the case in last season too as teams like WBA, West Ham and Wolves managed to get good results against us.

The team has grown and the tactics need to evolve as well, but more on that on the next post!

Season 2021/22 - New Tactic!

As mentioned, my 4-4-2 2DM tactic has provided some excellent results but the tactic is perhaps better suited for an underdog. As things stands, my squad has plenty of talent and I feel we need more suitable tactic for this team.

One of the main things I wanted from my new tactic was to be able to control games better. In order to do this I dropped one of the strikers and replaced him with ACM and started to play with 4-2-3-1 formation. This formation still allowed me to make the best use of our skilled wingers, whilist Camavinga and Jefferson Lerma provided strong foundation for our midfield.

Based on the first few results, the tactical change provided some much needed new energy for the team. I don't think the team scored too much more than before but the system provided better results on the defence.

After the tactical switch we got 6 consecutive wins in the Premier League keeping 4 clean sheets in the progress.

We got somewhat easy draw for the first knockout stage in UCL as Newcastle was paired with Ajax. We managed to win the first game 2-0 at Amsderdam and the 2nd game ended in similar fashion in Newcastle. I wasn't owerly excited about this, but can you imagine Newcastle United advancing to UCL qaurter-finals in real life!?!

We also had our League Cup Final during the month of February. We were in control of the game for almost the whole game, but managed to take the lead only in the 67th minute via Calvert-Lewin. Barrenextea scored soon after to make it 2-0 for the good guys and champagne was on the ice.

However, Mason Greenwood managed to score on the 90th minute after counter attack following our corner. At his point I just told my guys to defend and protect the lead. This wasnt enough though, as Lorenzo Pellegri equalised the game in the 92nd minute. Duck me...

Well anyway, extra time followed and I was still positive about our chances. Extra time was pretty uneventful effort between two tired teams and so we headed for the penalty shootout. Well... you can see how it went from the picture below. 3 out of the 6 penalty takers missed and Manchester United managed to escape with the title, which would have been much more important for my team than for them.

At least we got our revenge when we beat Manchester United in FA Cup quarter-finals!

We were in the top 4 in PL and still in UCL and FA Cup, so there is plenty to play!

End of the Season Two - Trophy Galore???

There were two months left in the season and Newcastle were in top 4 in the Premier League, Quarter Finals in UCL and Semi Finals in FA Cup. But what was left when all was set and done?

Let's go through the final month comptetition by competition.

Premier League

Things started off well with 2-1 win over Aston Villa but sadly the result was followed by 4 winless results of which 3 were losses. Arsenal has been surprisingly tricky opposition for me despite the fact that we finished above them in season one and were ahead of them in the second season too.

After 0-2 defeat against Arsenal I needed to get wins from my remaining games as top 4 race was incredibly tight. However, Southampton beat us 5-2 and the loss was followed by 2-2 draw against Spurs, so our top 4 bid was effectively over. 0-1 defeat against Watford in our next game sealed the deal and we couldn't make top 4 even if we win our two remaining games.

The remaining two games were pretty much pointless as I already had top 6 finish and EL qualification in the bag, so I went back to my 4-4-2 formation. At least we managed to end our PL season on a postive note with back-to-back wins over Brighton and WBA.

FA Cup

After defeating Manchester United in the Quarter-Finals I was positive about our chances in FA Cup. When I saw that three other teams in semi-finals were Leicester, Wolves and West Ham, I knew our time had come and the Cup would be ours to lose.

In the semis we were drawn against West Ham United, who finished 15th in the league. As you can imagine, the game was pretty one-sided affair but it took Callum WIlson's 86th minute strike to give us 1-0 victory over West Ham in a match that could have ended in much bigger win for us.

Leicester managed to beat Wolves in penaltied in the other semi-final game, so we headed to Wembley with them. They were 8th in S1 and 12th in S2, so we were the favourites in the final.

I have to say that the FA Cup final was one of my best experiences in recent history in FM. The idea of ending over half-a-decade trophy drought was very motivating idea, so I made sure we'd win it. We had a poor start to the game however, as Jamie Vardy made it 1-0 for Leicester after just 10 minutes of play. I was still confident about my team's ability and soon after Moussa Diaby equalised. We managed to score two more goals before the half time via DCL and ASM and headed into a break with commanding 3-1 lead. Calvert-Lewin made it 4-1 in the beginning of 2nd half and Jamie Vardy's 4-2 goal in the 91st minute was just a small consolation prize for Leicester after Newcastle United managed to lift the FA Cup trophy in a memorable final.

Later Stages of Champions League - The Greatest Moments in the Club's History?

Uefa Champions League 2021/22

After defeating Ajax in convincing fashion we were drawn against Liverpool FC in Quarter-Finals. Other teams still in the tournament were FC Barcelona, Bayern München, PSG, Atletico Madrid, ManU and Real Madrid, so there weren't easy draws available.

My record against Jürgen Klopp was rather poor 1-3 and as an European Giants Liverpool were the favourites for this tie. However, we had already surpassed all the expectations, so at least we had the benefit of playing as an underdog.

We started at home and the game was only 8 minutes old as Callum Wilson gave us sensational lead over Liverpool. The game was pretty even and we headed into break with 1-0 lead. Gini Wijnaldum managed to score an equaliser in the 64th minute and the game was about to end in a 1-1 draw when the madness started to happen.

In the 89th minute Virgil Van Dijk commited a foul in the box and recieved a 2nd yellow card. Our very own Matty Longstaff stepped up and scored the penalty and gave us 2-1 lead over Liverpool who was now man down. Soon after the play resumed Trent Alexander-Arnold got a 2nd booking as well and Liverpool were now two men down! At this point I went for attacking hoping to get one more goal. And wouldn't you know, just minutes later Moussa Diaby scored and made the game 3-1 to Newcastle!

After Diaby's goal Camavinga got injured, so we were down to ten players too but in the dying minutes of the game Wijnaldum was forced off with an injury too, so the game ended 3-1 to Newcastle with 10 players remaining against Liverpool's 8...

In the second leg LFC only needed a 2-0 victory to advance, so there were still plenty to play. They had a dream start to the game as Mo Salah scored in the 7th minute followed by Sadio Mane's 2-0 goal in the 26th minute of the game. So, in just under half-an-hour of play our sensational 3-1 win was wiped out and LFC were in the commanding position. Soon after the play resumed in the 2nd half Dominic Szoboszlai managed to sneak one past Alisson and with the score of 2-1 we were ahead on the aggregate. The game ended 2-1 and Newcastle United headed to the UCL Semi-Finals in a year two!!!

In the semi-finals we were matched up against Spanish giant Real Madrid. Perhaps surprisingly, their squad was pretty similar than what it is now, so their key players Benzema, Kroos, Modric and Ramos were older and their potential youngsters hadn't grown enough to be the starplayers of the team yet.

We headed to the Madrid for the first game and whilist both teams had some opportunities (xG was 1,56 - 1,00 to Real) the game ended in a scoreless draw. I was happy with the draw as we needed just a win from our home game in order to advance to the final.

UCL Semi-Final home game at the St. James' Park... wow...The Geordies were drinking through the whole week and the city just waited it's heroes to face the mighty Real Madrid. These are the moments none of the Geordies dared to dream about few years ago.

We had a sensational start for the home game as Moussa Diaby scored yet another important goal for us in the 18th minute of the game. Both teams had some opportunities to score but the game went to a half time in a score of 1-0. The second half continued in a similar fashion but it was Allan Saint-Maximin who finally put the game into a bed with his 84th minute goal which made the whole stadium shake.

Newcastle United had just beaten Real Madrid 2-0 and were headed in to Champions League Final!

Another team from the Spain's capital avaited us in the final as Atletico Madrid had beaten Chelsea, PSG and Bayern Munchen on their way to the final. Despite reaching the final, Atletico Madrid finished only 6th in La Liga, so they had everything to play in the final too. They had almost identical squad compared to their team in 2020 and were still managed by Diego Simeone.

I had optimism going into the final and felt we could beat Atletico Madrid, despite them being the favourites. I knew they would play defence first and try to score through counter attacks and set pieces but I felt we could play our own game and get the result.

The game started in a cautious fashion as both teams aimed to limit the risks and just took a moment to see how the events would fold. The game was scoreless in half-time but soon after the break our Hungarian hero Dominik Szoboszlai scored and Newcastle United had taken a lead in the UCL Final!

It looked like we had the win in a bag but it was Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco who spoiled our party with his 84th minute equaliser. We hadn't created too many scoring chances either but I felt the equaliser was undeserved. However, we headed to the extra time in 1-1 situation.

Neither team managed to break the tie during the extra time, so the UCL final headed to the penalty shootout. So far we'd only had one penalty shootout which ended in Manchester United's win as half of our guys missed their penalties, so my hopes weren't too high. Atletico had more experienced players, so I felt we had already missed our best opportunity to win the trophy.

ASM, Szoboszlai and Matty Longstaff scored their penalties but Lemar, Luis Suarez and Saúl scored for Atletico, so the score was 3-3. Barrenextea scored our 4th shot and it was Hector Herrera who had the miserable role of missing the first penalty as his low shot went wide from the right hand-side.

I had tactically assigned my best penalty taker to take the 5th shot and it was Callum Wilson who had the opportunity to score and win the Champions League trophy for the Newcastle United. Wilson stepped back, started his run and BOOOOM he placed the ball in the net despite Jan Oblak guessing the right corner to dive in to and the Newcastle team and fans alike went crazy as they had just won the Champions League to end their 2021/22 season.

ippe's avatar Group ippe
3 yearsEdited

Newcastle United End of the Season Review 2021/22

Despite finishing 5th in the league compared to last season's 3rd, my 2nd year in charge of Newcastle United was hugely successful thanks to winning the UCL and FA Cup Trophies.

I guess I have no way to prove that I didn't cheat or stuff like that, but believe me when I say that after playing FM for over a decade, finishing my Master Thesis in Sport Business Management etc. I have better things to do in my life than try to get few likes on the internet by cheating in a computer game.

I consider winning the UCL in my 2nd season with Newcastle United my best achievment on my over a decade long FM career. Finishing 3rd in season one was sensational on itself but winning the UCL is something that is hard to do with teams like Liverpool or Bayern Munchen, yet alone with Newcastle United, which was predicted to finish 10th just two short years ago and is in a relegation battle in real life.

I don't consider my tactics to be cheesy either, but I guess you'll be the judge on that. But formations like 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 are commonly used in football unlike some 1 cente back and 3 striker tactics I've seen on this site. My tactics can be re-created easily and as you can see from the instructions they are relatively simple too.

I think it's all about having a desired tactic in your mind and getting the players that are best fits for the tactic. That being said, I feel FM21 might be too easy compared to it's predecessors. Or maybe I just got lucky. I think I could replay the 2nd season over 50 times and not win the UCL again in any of them.

I finish this post by sharing the player stats from all comps.

Newcastle United - Summer of 2022

Okay, so I have now caught up with my actual save. It's summer and time for transfers, so it's the most wonderful time of a year.

I've spent rather lot of money during my time at Newcastle United but we just won UCL and most of our players are on a relatively low wages, so there will be plenty of money to spend. I don't remember the exact number but during the last season we made a profit of closer to £250 million.

I recieved a transfer kit of around £60M and plenty to spent on wages too. I should also mention, that thanks to our UCL win we enjoyed a huge reputation boost and now have reputation.

So.... that means it's time for a few luxury signings! As we started to play Szoboszlai in the middle we needed a new winger, so why not go for the best possible option? I had scouted Ansu Fati for a long time and as he was a substitute player in FC Barcelona he was somewhat willing to move to Newcastle even before our UCL victory. I've got the money, I've got the reputation, so soon enough, Ansu Fati moved to Newcastle for £70M.

I sold Karl Darlow during the last season, so we needed a new back up keeper. I tried to sign Maarten Vandervoort as Dubravka is 33 years old, but his move was blocked because he didn't get a work permit. I went for Lyon's Mike Maignan instead.

I needed some cover for the right back position but I don't like to sign players just to be a back up, so I needed somebody who could offer competition for Nordi Mukiele. I felt I could sign more English players too, so I went for James Justin of Leicester.

I saw Marcus Edwards was available for transfer for a bargain price of a £9,5M, and I have a thing for a bargain, so I had to go for it despite already having 4 wingers. As a result of buying Edwards, I needed to loan Barrenetxea to Athletic Bilbao in order to help him to get more playing time.

We could also use another centre back option. I had scouted players like Jules Kounde, Dayot Upamecano and Pau Torres, but they were too expensive to be a back up and I felt that Onguene and Milenkovic already had a decent partnership going. Atletico Madrid were selling Nehuen Perez for £10,5M and as my scouts liked him and he ticked all the boxes, I had to get him in.

I still had plenty of money to burn as I sold Lescelles to Sevilla for £24M and Alfredo Morelos to BVB for £34M, so I wanted to go for another top top talent.

I needed to have back up option for AMC position as Szoboszlai was the only player who was accomplished at the position. I wanted to sign English star player. At the time we had six English players of which Calvert-Lewin is probably the only player I conider to be a star. Maybe Callum Wilson too, but he is a 2nd choice for DCL. These two guys are our only English national team players too. Other English players in our team are Ezri Konsa, James Justin, Matty Longstaff and Marcus Edwards, who are perhaps more of a rotation options.

I had a bid accepted for Jack Grealish but his agent's wage demands were too high, so I had to reject the deal. Instead I signed the future face of English football in Jude Bellingham for £55M!

The signings can be seen here:

Just out of curiosity I calculated my total spending and sales

Transfer fees paid = £471M
Transfer fees recieved = £255,3M
Net Spend in 2,5 years = £215,7M

You are reading "FM21 Newcastle United - Back to the Top!".

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