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Leamington - 2026/27

I manage clubs on Football Manager Mobile and then tell you what happens.
Started on 7 December 2020 by Harleygator
Latest Reply on 22 April 2021 by Harleygator
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FMM Story
S6E6 – November-December 2025

(Leamington FC, Premier League)

“I didn’t expect it to be like this,” my father says as I relinquish my hold on the door; I’d tried to keep him from seeing inside the spare room, but now he had, and his face wore an expression of pain as he surveyed the scene. Surrounding my desk were reams, stacks, unlit pyres of paper, each an indecipherable scrawl of notes and annotations in black, blue, green, red ink. My father peels off a sticky note from one of the stacks – ELLIS JONES, it reads in neat block capitals. “They said you’d been distracted recently, but this… I mean, is this… normal?”
. . . . .”Of course it’s normal,” I snap, snatching the post-it from his fingers and adhering it back to the stack. “Loads of people do it.”
. . . . .He persists. “It’s just, you don’t see it on the TV, do you?”
. . . . .”TV? What’s that got to do with it?”
. . . . .”Well, you just see Jose or whoever, they’re running round with a clipboard and arguing with journos. It’s sort of, glamour, isn’t it?”
. . . . .”I’m not Jose Mourinho, though, am I? I’m just…” Just what? I pull another post-it note – REECE OXFORD – from his hand. “It’s just my hobby. I don’t tell you about, well, whatever you do. Grow tomatoes? Get nagged by Mum?”
“Probably right on the last one,” my father says solemnly, smiling in spite of himself. I turn to let some air into the small room, hearing him let out a brief sign. “Look, I know it’s your job and everything, but this doesn’t look fun. It looks like an obsession.”

(1 – 0) Leeds United (A) PL – D Happe (1)
(4 – 1) Tottenham Hotspur (A) PL – D Avenell (1), D Adeniran (1), E Jones (1), S Greenwood (1)
(5 – 1) Derby County (H) PL – A Milik (1), M Edwards (2), L Ilic (1), E Laird (1)
(0 – 1) Crystal Palace (A) PL –
(2 – 0) Southampton (A) PL – R Dodoo (1), S Greenwood (1)
(3 – 0) Newcastle United (A) PL – D Avenell (1)
(2 – 0) Arsenal (H) PL – A Milik (1), L Ilic (1)
(2 – 0) Aston Villa (A) CCQ – D Avenell (2)
(1 – 0) Blackburn Rovers (H) PL – S Greenwood (1)
(2 – 0) Bristol City (H) PL – D Avenell (2)
(4 – 0) West Ham United (A) PL – A Milik (3), M Edwards (1)

Through December, we managed 7 games without conceding; the record for consecutive clean sheets is 14, held by Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2008/09 Manchester United side, a record we don’t expect and will not beat. However, our next game is Liverpool, and if we are able to record a clean sheet in that game, it would put us joint third in Premier League history. Defence has been key this season, particularly our sheer physical prowess: I’ve measured that our centre-backs have an average pace of 14.8 and strength of 16.7, while our full-backs come in with 15.8 pace; and add to this that our defensive midfielders, Robbie Dodoo and Trevoh Chalobah chip in with 15+ pace each, this is a team that plays high, closes fast, and doesn’t get bullied in set pieces – we never concede from corners, through balls or crosses.

At the same time, I have suffered something of a crisis, as this level of success is not merely unrealistic, but totally unbelievable, and I feel this is starting to become detrimental to my reputation (not that I have one) as a story teller. I can only appeal to the good nature of the readers in giving me the benefit of the doubt, as I am as one with you in thinking that these sorts of results only originate in cheating, which I most certainly am not doing. I have, keenly aware of the optics of this, attempted these last few seasons to properly detail from whence the successes have come; in short, recruitment policies with a focus on youth and with a profit motive, careful consideration of the skills and suitability of my squad tactically, and thus in both cases intensive role specialisation with player development. I don’t envisage the club taking any turn for the worse, which – I say with some discomfort – is likely to end in Leamington coming away with the Premier League title in our debut season. This doesn’t happen in real life… does it?

I don't question whatever you're doing at all. You just happen to be maximising the very most out of your players. It's not your fault - well, it is but you get my point ;) - and in spite of you achieving success after success, it's not affecting my level of interest. Don't worry about that!
FMM Story
S6E7 – December 2025

(Wales, World Cup Qualification, Group 8)

Goalkeepers – Danny Ward (Leicester City), Luca Smith (Bristol City)
Full Backs – Neko Williams (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rhys Norrington-Davies (Sheffield United), Barney Soady (Bristol City), Keelan Williams (Ipswich Town)
Defenders – Joe Rodon (Celtic), Connor Powell (Swansea City), Miles Thomas (Cardiff City), Ben Cabango (Swansea City)
Midfielders – Ethan Ampadu (Chelsea), Joe Morrell (Norwich City), Chem Campbell (Bradford City), Callum Jones (Hull City), Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Matt Smith (Millwall), Sion Spence (Swansea City)
Wingers – Daniel James (Manchester United), Rabbi Matondo (Schalke), Harry Wilson (West Ham United), Tom Lawrence (Derby County)
Attackers – Tyler Roberts (Leeds United), Nathan Broadhead (Bristol City)

While preparing my final submission for the World Cup Qualifiers, I stumbled across a report on the squad submission of the England Under-21s for their upcoming fixtures. Among the 23 players were 9 of relevance to me – Brad Embleton, David Watmore, Bobby Ormerod, Lee Monkhouse, David Avenell, Sean Neal, plus Ricky Drench, Russ Griffiths and Chez Urwin – in other words, 9 players who either play for or have passed through Leamington at one stage of their burgeoning careers, a mark of the impact I am beginning to have on the future of English football.

Anyway, back to Wales: David Brooks, our free-scoring shadow striker, is injured for these games, which would’ve been a big loss as he is a big scorer for the squad. And while Germany won their remaining games 5-0 each, it didn’t eventually matter – we wrapped up our final games against Azerbaijan and Belarus without much incident, 2 points dropped in the final game, but then, who really cares? We qualify top of the group.

(1 – 0) Belarus (A) WCQG8 – D James (1)
(1 – 1) Azerbaijan (H) WCQG8 – H Wilson (1)

If I’m completely honest, I haven’t really enjoyed writing about international football. It feels like I have little to say about the quick couple of games we play every month or so, and while it provides a pretty quick update to keep things ticking over, it comes with a fresh squad analysis each month and more reams, stacks and unlit pyres of notes and annotations to pore over, obsess over, more weird calls for comments, more awkward nods from strangers in the street. It’s likely I’ll quit my position after the World Cup, only returning to international football if I earn the chance to manage England, a decent prospect given my contribution to the international scene for my home nation.


International management is an interesting one with FM. Hopefully you can have a good run with Wales before you depart.
Lovely to see you knocking Germany around in both games and with ease especially in the second game. Those two results were certainly the big ones in regards to the succesful qualification campaign and congratulations on that.

In terms of league football, once more a fantastic job in the top tier. It's been an incredible rise in which the initial struggle has been completely left behind in the last five or so years. Challenging for the title in season one is a magnificent achievement, keep going.

In regards to your fears of overachieving I wouldn't worry. I have very much enjoyed the story from the start and continue to do so. Whilst it might not be everyone's cup of tea, as long as you are enjoying it, keep on going and you have my support.
FMM Story
S6E8 – January-February 2026

(Leamington FC, Premier League)

As a Premier League side and having bolstered the ranks of the total squad with a diverse selection of prospects, it was disappointing to see for the last 18 months the abject spectacle of my Reserve team being hammered in every fixture. So far this season, the Reserve side has played 14 matches, chalking up an impressively disgraceful tally of 3 draws and 11 defeats. The main reason for this, I suppose, is that most of my prospects are out on loan, but there’s still a fairly large number left at the club, including regular playing time for out-of-rotation contributors like Josh Bateman or Jack Tucker. As an experiment, then, I’ve decided to recall all my on-loan players and have them bolster the Reserve ranks for the remainder of the season, something the players themselves and many of the staff thought was crazy, though the way they look at me nowadays makes me think they already do. “Distant,” say some of the kinder ones; “Detached,” say the others. In any case, I’ve started organising regular friendlies for the Reserve team, at least 1 game per week, and will monitor their development to see if it makes a different to the individual players.

IN – £4’100’000 – Central Midfielder, Cristian Sanvincente from Estudiantes de Merida
IN – £300’000 – Winger, Lynford Lillis from Fulham
IN – £100’000 – Central Defender, Jordy Bullivant from Coventry City

OUT – £4’900’000 – Defensive Midfielder, Kayne Redfearn to Barnsley

Being a Premier League side also means we’re more attractive to foreign talent. While I’ve never been predisposed to making loads of moves for foreign wonderkids and newgens, I figured a couple wouldn’t upset the domestic balance of the squad overall, and I wouldn’t play them until they settled in and gained some grasp of the language anyway. We secured a pretty good move for 19-year-old Venezuelan midfielder Sanvincente, and although he’s probably good enough to start, I field him for the reserves until he’s has some mentoring and tutoring. Sadly, the Croation winger Kalinic failed his work permit and the appeal, so I decided to make a couple of moves for two young English prospects instead, motivated mainly by a quick profit turnaround – I could easily recuperate ten times that amount in the next summer window on these players. Finally, we received a great offer for Kayne Redfearn: we bought him for £5’000 from Gloucester City in 2023, and just sold him for almost £5’000’000 exactly 3 years later, another testament to the success of my wheeler-dealer, profit-motive approach to youth.

(3 – 1) Liverpool (H) PL – J Jones (2), D Avenell (1)
(2 – 2) Portsmouth (H) FA3 – S Greenwood (1), M Hartley (1)
(1 – 0) Manchester City (H) CCS1 – A Elanga (1)
(1 – 0) Manchester United (H) PL – M Hartley (1)
(0 – 1) Aston Villa (A) PL –
(2 – 1) Everton (H) PL – M Edwards (1), D Allamby (1)
(1 – 0) Fulham (H) FA4 – A Milik (1)

OUT – £10’250’000 – Winger, Marcus Edwards to Southampton

IN – Loan – Winger, Jefferson Fernandes Valle from Roma

Anyway, I accepted a really great offer for Marcus Edwards, who is probably one of our best peak-age players; I wasn’t sure whether to accept as he is a great contributor to the performances we’ve put on, but I reasoned that the money from this move will be useful, and we managed to replace him with an English-speaking Italian wonderkid, nominally worth around £30’000’000. Quite the replacement!

(1 – 1)a Manchester CIty (A) CCS2 – A Milik (1)
(2 – 0) Brighton (A) PL – A Milik (1), E Jones (1)
(0 – 0) Manchester CIty (H) PL –
(1 – 2) Chelsea (A) PL – D Avenell (1)
(2 – 0) Leicester City (H) PL – A Milik (2)

“Do you see yourself going the distance against your closest competitors in Manchester United and City?”
. . . . .I’m momentarily dazzled by the sudden onset of brightness, a discomforting glare matched by the low humming heat of the bulbs above, imparting upon me a feeling of being warmed from the inside. Dark blotches form in my field of vision as chattering figures warp around the edges of my focus like compressed gel in a water snake toy.
. . . . .“I, um… sorry, what was that?”
. . . . .The voice repeats its question as though it were being played from a soundboard, her clear enunciation lilting in the exact same pattern as before, a mark of preparation and professionalism in the craft of asking questions. But before I can latch on to the distinct voice to anchor me in the moment, her sentence finishes, leaving only a miasma of disparate sounds – muffled coughing, scraping chair legs, scratching pens on clipboard paper. I feel a body shift uncomfortably beside me; hands grasp a pen, engage the clicker, drop the pen with a dull clatter on a few sheets of notes, pick it up again.
. . . . .”Um, yes, I do think, I mean, what I think the club hopes,” the body is saying, all the time colour flushing into its cheeks, “is that we’re taking it, um, one game at a time, and going into every game to win. And I think that it’s possible to, um, continue our form, but, um, obviously we have to keep ourselves grounded and also, focused on what we’re doing.” There’s an urgency in those final words, a call to action, an appeal to someone; there’s no pull on the words though, just the tickling touch of a gossamer thread as it brushes your arm in a breeze.
. . . . .The man is gathering up the papers, clicking the pen again. “Anyway, that’s all we really have time for right now, though, um, we can take more questions if you want to direct them to our press office.” I feel the body’s hand squeeze my bicep: move, it says. I do as it says.

FMM Story
S6E9 – January-February 2026

(Leamington FC, Premier League)

(1 – 2)p Manchester United (N) CCF – D Avenell (1)

Losing the Carabao Cup Final on penalties is hardly the best way to begin the run-in to the end of the season. As with every game against the traditional big six, we were second best for most of the game, although we retained possession well. It’s a disappointing result nonetheless, and with the season coming to a close, losing the Carabao Cup Final on penalties is hardly the best way to begin the run-in to the end of the season. With Milik in the goalscoring form of his life, maybe selecting David Avenell wasn’t the best choice, though I am a manager who prefers youth to experience, and Avenell did score, but then he also did miss a penalty, but maybe if I’d have selected Milik we might have lifted the cup, and I can’t just load back in to do it again, can I, because you’re not in a game, Harley, so they tell me, and making these sorts of decisions which means losing the Carabao Cup Final on penalties is hardly the best way to begin the run-in to the end of the season.

(4 – 1) West Ham United (A) PL – A Milik (4)
(2 – 0) Norwich City (A) PL – A Elanga (1), M Hartley (oNe)
(2 – 0) Leeds United (H) PL – A Milik (2)
(1 – 1)p Manchester City
(A) FAQ – A Elanga (1)
Reality? (2 – 1) Totten
ham Hotspur (A) PL – A Milik
(1), S Greenwood (1) (2 – 0) C r y s t a l P a l a c e ( H ) P L – J J o n e s ( 1 ), D Av en ell (1 )
(3 – 0) Southampto
n (H) PL –
J Fernandes Valle (TWO), E J
ones (1)
. . . . . . . . . . ( 2 – 1 ) . . . . .D e r b y C. . . . . o u n t y ( A ) P L – D Av
enell (1), A Elanga (1)

It’s Football Manager; it has to be?
( 2 – 1 ) e C hel se a (N ) F AS – J Fe rna ndes V alle (onE), S Gr eenwo od ( 1)
( 0 – 2 ) A r s e n a l ( A ) P L –
I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir, because I’m not myself (3 – 2) . . . . . Bristol City . . . . . (A) PL – A Mil. . . . .ik (2), S Greenwood (1)

Jodi Jones, scored in his first game in a cup. Jodi Jones, scoring in his last game in a cup. His last game? He’s not dying. My last game? Am I dying, or simply waking?
@All: As you can see by recent updates, I've been moving the story in a different direction, away from a flat retelling of my Football Manager playthrough, towards a more fictionalised account of events. The main reason for this is that my playthrough with no rules in familiar waters has been tremendously successful, and I can't shake the feeling that it is too easy and reads like it. I want to impose some rules on myself, venture out into new waters, while at the same time entertaining the readers. After a short pause, the story will return on 15th March. :)
Look forward to future updates!
Leamington FC - Update - September 2026

As you can tell, I never ended up carrying on this story - work commitments and other hobbies kinda took my attention away from the save. At the end of the 2025/26 season, having won the Premier League and FA Cup with Leamington FC, and having taken a lacklustre Wales side to a Second Round defeat in the World Cup, I resigned from both sides and went on an extended hiatus. The idea was that my manager would become a missing person for the duration it took me to find a creatively stimulating challenge. In June 2027, my manager (now presumed dead) resurfaces as an unknown hermit on the eastern coast of Russia, and following a sequence of events would be installed as the ‘eccentric’ manager of Sakhalin Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, a tiny Russian side based on an island north of Japan. In the save, I only played 3 games of the season, picking up a reasonable 4 points. I still have the save file for this game, and may pick it up in the future.

Recently, though, I decided to continue on with my old Leamington save, a backup of which I saved prior to resigning my position. I wanted to do an update on the start of the 2026/27 season.

So, in terms of domestic football, I remained at Leamington, and decided to develop the team into a European force, which meant overhauling the squad. My Premier League side and successful wheeler-dealing approach meant I had a pretty decent war fund already, and realising my youth ranks were greatly overpopulated, I sold more than a dozen of my prospects (5 of them exclusively to Portsmouth; God knows where they got the money) and a huge chunk of my midfield – Ilic, Wintle, Finney and Sanvincente, who, despite being a wonderkid, was a total Ballotelli off the pitch. With that money in place, I set about improving as many areas as possible. Of real players you guys will actually know, I brought in winger Noni Madueke (irl PSV Eindhoven), full-back Brandon Williams (irl Man United), and central midfielder Billy Gilmour (irl Chelsea). I supplemented these with some rated wonderkids – two central midfielders in Francisco Souza da Silva (Brazil) and Kian Schlanders (England), and winger Leandro Joao (Portugal). But my most exciting signing, with Arka Milik approaching retirement, was the homecoming of Leamington’s most famous son – former 52-goal wonder Kris Ellison.

Ellison made his new debut in our fifth game of the season, scoring in a 1-1 draw away to West Ham. We opened the season with a crushing 3-0 win over Aston Villa in the Community Shield, followed by two more comfortable victories against Leicester and Watford. However, we were then put the sword by Manchester City and their hattrick hero Liam Delap with a deserved 3-0 defeat. We sit fourth with 7 points.

On the international side of things, I resigned my position at Wales, and instead vied for a more suitable position – and, lo, did the offer land in my inbox: we would like to offer you the position of manager for England. Of course I accepted. With a strong vein of English players at my club, it was a temptation to turn England into Leamington on Tour, but I resisted just giving jobs to the boys and instead selected the best available to fit into my system, with only 5 players from my domestic team making the 23-man squad. In a move that alarmed fans, one of these players – alongside Brandon Williams, Noni Madueke, David Watmore and Reece Oxford – was Kris Ellison, who had only played 1 game of Premier League football in his life. No matter, as I gave the boy his debut in European qualification against Wales, and he subsequently scored his debut England goal in a 2-1 victory over the local rivals and my former employer. We followed that up with a 3-0 drubbing of Slovakia, Williams and Madueke scoring there, making that 2 games in 2 with Leamington players on the scoresheet… maybe we’re Leamington on Tour after all. Interestingly, the other team in our group, France, dropped 5 points, meaning qualification for the European International League semi-final is already all but confirmed.

That’s it for now, but I’ll update as and when I have more to say.

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