Hi guys, after an extended absence from putting stories out, I'm back with a save that's not Leeds for a change. I'd like to have put out a story on here earlier, but as sod's law would have it, I fired up a save at the start of December that I didn't plan to make into a story, I just wanted to have fun with it. I started with Forest and ended up playing 11 years, spending five at Forest, two and a half at Leeds and getting near the end of a second season at Aston Villa (with breaks in between).
Earlier today, I saw a story that Sheffield United wanted to change Chris Wilder's role to that of a head coach and it got me thinking, seeing as it seems to be the way modern football is heading, what would it be like to work under similar conditions in Football Manager? And that was the brain child of the Head Coach Challenge.
Unlike other Football Manager challenges, there's no real endgame with this, the aim is just to be as successful as you possibly can, with several restraints. In Football Manager, there are a range of senior members of staff, the ones we'll be focussing on for this save are the Chairman, Director of Football, Technical Director, Head of Youth Development, Loan Manager and Chief Scout. This is where we get into the rules.
Director of Football
My Director of Football, to a considerably greater extent than in a normal save, will be in charge of transfers. The only input I get is who we actively look to sell and who I don't want to sign and even with the latter, there is a veto rule. I can veto two signings per position per window. So for example if my DoF has decided we really need a striker and I've pulled the plug on two signings, I have to take the third if there is one.
As for transfers going out, I have no powers of veto. Any players sold will either be players I've deemed as not needed or players whose offers were too good for the club to refuse. I can try to convince a player to stay, but ultimately the power lies with the player and the DoF (and/or the powers that be). I can adjust an asking price, but only if it's for a player I plan on selling, no setting £100m asking prices to scare off suitors.
I will be able to attend recruitment meetings, as a matter of fact this will be the one instance where I can have my say on where I think we need to strengthen. This will be the only time I can set an assignment (I'll be able to tell my scouts to look for a particular position or have a closer look at a player), outside of this I have no power. This takes me onto my next set of rules.
My Chief Scout will take charge of all scouting. He/she will set up scouting assignments and can lead scouting meetings, although I can assign this to my DoF, the key rule being that I don't sit in on these. My Chief Scout will feed this back to my DoF and the shared knowledge can be used to better inform the DoF.
Head of Youth Development
My Head of Youth Development will have an interesting role in that he/she is the only other member of staff that will get involved in transfer dealings. My HoYD can submit initial offers for players, however as their forte is mainly finding and developing youngsters, he/she will not be involved in negotiations. This will be left to my DoF. Again, I have the same veto powers as I do for the first team which again, comes with the caveat that using my two vetoes in a position can be a gamble. My HoYD will have the usual powers of handling youth recruitment (i.e. through the academy).
Will do as it says on the tin. Anyone I want to send out on loan, my LM will take care of the rest.
This employee will be in charge of hiring and firing anyone he can (i.e. anyone that isn't him or my DoF). He will also be in charge of staff contracts and coaching badges, so there'll be no dipping into the market for club legends I can train up as coaches. This is arguably the part of the running of the club where my power is most diminished, as I will have no input whatsoever.
Whoever I report to will be the one to hire and fire my Director of Football and Technical Director, as well as negotiating the renewal of their contracts. The board member responsible for running the club will also step in in the absence of the aforementioned members of staff.
What this all means is that I'm left in charge of tactics, training and man management (as well as press duties, but they're not massively important to this discussion). I'm allowed to leave my assistant manager in charge of various aspects that I do have a say on, as long as he/she is not doing all of my job for me. But for example, I've never been overly comfortable setting opposition instructions, so this is something I'd like to leave in the hands of my number 2.
My responsibility is for the development of the players I'm left in charge of, managing my coaching staff and maintaining a positive dressing room atmosphere. These are important for getting it right on the day, the idea is that this will be enough to get it right on enough occasions to still accomplish things as I would under normal conditions. I will have to keep a closer eye on the development of my own players, I can't just frantically look for better ones in the transfer market or ship in a boat load of regens to fix problems on the pitch.
Ironically, despite the talk of Sheffield United at the start of this post, my journey will begin with their neighbours from the north of the city, at Sheffield Wednesday. I wanted to start at a club big enough to be able to attract good quality playing and coaching staff, but also one that presented enough of a challenge to get the sense of accomplishment if I were to for instance, get the club promoted. Nottingham Forest would have qualified for this also, but having spent five years there on my long term save, I think it's time for a change of scenery!
Wednesday are a club in the mire at the moment. We'll begin the season with a 6-point deduction (it could have been worse and many clubs have had worse). As there is a vacancy at the club at the start of the save, the staffing situation is down to the bare bones, with just a fitness coach and general first team coach (Luke Dopson and Neil Thompson) coaching the first team with me. We do have a HoYD in Steve Haslam and Chief Scout in David Downes and they have decent numbers under them in their roles, but we're missing a Director of Football, a Technical Director and a Loan Manager. As a result, chairman Dejphon Chansiri (God help us all, amirite Owls fans?) will step up in the absence of these for now and will be tasked with finding replacements, as well as finding me an assistant manager.
And that's where I'll leave it for now. I'm sure there are people out there who have done this before and nailed it, but I'm about to lose my Head Coach Challenge v-card. Looking forward to the challenge, I'll shoot you an update at the end of pre-season!