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The David Smith Story - Some dreams do come true, will his?

With no badges, no managerial or professional football experience and without a club to start his career, a young man from Bristol attempts to make history with his favorite football team.
Started on 7 November 2021 by Maxporto
Latest Reply on 22 January 2022 by Tango
Some disappointing results throughout this period, Sriwijaya have been given a lot of leeway as a result of it. Only you can change your course from here!
Clearly its been tough going so far. The squad is clearly struggling to adapt to your ways of working and its not quite coming together just yet. Hopefully the new arrivals will come in and kickstart a good run of form following this disappointing period.
you've dropped quite a lot of points, but are yet to suffer major consequences from it. Let's hope that Dave can adapt soon and put this team on track

Reply to Comments

Well I wasn't expecting this much of a reaction. Thank you all so much for checking in and giving this story a read. Although I have been roleplaying Football Manager games in my head for many years, this is the first time I attempt to put what goes on in my head playing this game into a page. I've been really impressed with the community here, and I am looking forward to the time off around Christmas to read everyone else's stories.

Back to D. Smith -

J_ames - You're not wrong, it has been a decent start, but I have to admit my life has been made easier by taking over a team that was doing so well before I showed up. I think if I had taken over a poorer team and got the same results, things would be pretty dreadful right now! - I think I might be a bit more ballsy with my requests when I take over a team in the future (if my achievements with Dewa allow me to make such demands), I certainly expect to get a kitchen in my next venture!

Jack - Absolutely, It was border line heartbreaking to be honest with you. I didn't expect just a single point out of a possible 9. if the new tactic works as me and the assistant intend, we should hopefully still be able to challenge Sriwijaya before they run away with it.

TheLFCFan - Yeah, you know things are tough when you have to take a day off to hike to the top of a mountain and reflect on things! I am incredibly hopeful about the new arrivals though :)

Tango - I totally agree with you, things are still manageable and no targets that have been set are unachievable, It's been a culture and work environment shock for David, but there's still hope. He certainly won't be throwing in the towel any time soon.
First season in management is going to be a learning curve and you will be stronger for it, despite how hard those first set of results must have been to take
Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
2 yearsEdited

New Tactic, Different Results?

The new tactic is in full swing during our training sessions. And the players are making good progress in familiarising themselves with it. The first team to face it will be none other than Semen Padang. They will probably be glad I turn them down right now as they sit 4th in the league just 3 points behind us. We’ll be playing away from home, so it gives me a chance to check out their facilities for the first time. Will it be a step up from where I am right now? We’ll see, but to be honest, even if they played in a Palace I’d still be dubious to manage a team with Semen in the name.

So this is what me and Rully (my assistant) came up with. The tactic came to life after a conversation we had about our favourite teams of the past. And we both agreed that Milan 00/01 was an incredible team to base our tactic around. We needed something without wingers, and with more bodies in the box, and this just fitted perfectly. Now I know I was barely born back then, but my grandad used to mention the Italian teams of the 90s to me all the time, and being a football fanatic, I did my research on them very early in my teens.

Moment of truth

The match is another one requiring a flight, a 27hour coach journey is not exactly the best way to prepare for an away game, so 1h 45mins on a plane it is.

It’s a completely different atmosphere this time, the players seem focused. My assistant tells me he has a good feeling about the match, after all my positivity before the last 3 matches, I decide not to make any predictions.

Maybe the title “moment of truth” is a bit dramatic, but this game will give me a good indication of whether this is a viable tactic in this team/league/country. If we play well and lose, I’ll still be happy.

Buddy is back in his natural position. And that’s all I can pretty much say about the team selection, not exactly spoiled for choice at the moment due to injuries. Herman is almost 100% fit, but for how long?

We start the better team, in the first 10 minutes we already created plenty of chances, but in true Dewa Utd fashion, we fail to make it count.

One thing we seem to be better at this game is set pieces. Our corners specially are a lot better, our work in the training ground is finally paying off, and on the 18th minute, following a corner. Ardiansyah who will forever be called Ardian, so I never have to write that name again, picks up the lose ball outside the 6-yard box following a corner on the left-hand side, and smashes it into the top corner for his first ever Dewa Utd goal! He is a centre back so it explains the lack of goals, but hopefully this won’t be his last.

What a start!

Roughly 5 minutes later and Suhendra, decides to show just how much he’s paying attention to set pieces in training by banging in a free kick in the top corner! 24 minutes in and the score is 0-2! It’s not exactly saying much about the tactic, since we’re scoring from dead ball situations, but I’m not complaining!
30 minutes in and Padang have not had a single shot.We are dominating the game so far.
The rest of the half is very quiet, and it end 0-2, but how about this for stats!

It took them 3 minutes to have a shot in the second half, and it was on target. But luckily it didn’t bother my goalkeeper too much. Safe to say it won’t make the highlights after the game.

The game is a lot more even in the second half, but with no real goal scoring chances for either team the score is still the same on the 80th minute. For once I am able to rest important players, so I bring Herman in for Buddy, he might break a record for oldest ever player in the league.

He has a shot off target moments after coming on, but his presence seems to give Semen Padang a new sense of belief as they get a goal back with 5 minutes to go. Another goal conceded via a long ball over the top. We must improve on that…

Before I even had time to translate the word concentrate to a language my players would understand, One of my center backs decides to try the same tactic as them, Beytoven gets fed a ball over the top and after his shot is blocked by the keeper, Mursalim scores the rebound! 1-3 the score but most importantly, it shows we can score from open play with this tactic. I got to admit, I never thought we were going to score 3 goals this game. But my team proved me wrong… it looks like there’s another airplane party incoming!

The league table remains relatively the same after that round of games, there are 7 games left before play-offs. We have 2 more home games left in September, and I just noticed our last game of the season will be against Sriwijaya FC! They have just recorded their 10th away win in a row. Hopefully we can get a little closer to them before the last game to make things a bit more interesting. We’ll have our new signings by then as well!

But before I get too ahead of myself, time to concentrate on the next game, It’s another team I turned down. It’s the mean looking badge team known as Babel Utd, bring it on!

Feeling incredibly happy with how the last game went, I decide to treat myself. And since I intend on taking this job seriously, I thought it was about time I start looking the part. No more joggers and hoodies on match days, I got myself a suit with the teams’ badge on it! My savings are going extremely well, I earn way more than the average person in Indonesia, and so, I made the decision to look for a new place to live before Christmas, 3 months should give me plenty of time to look for the ideal home.

Now look at this dapper looking fella!

Tactic change seems to have worked well and beating a team close behind you before the game is always great.
The tactical change may have gotten you a win, but a single match is not enough sample. Let's see how it pans out in the long run
You've absolutely outclassed Semen Padang in that game, and it places further importance on your next 5 games now. I think it's definitely achievable for you to collect maximum points, and if this tactic holds up: you could be about to do something quite special with Dewa United.

Well done mate, it looks like David is making great strides early on in his managerial career!

A one off or a tactical masterpiece?

Following what was only my second win as a football manager in 8 games, we get an 8 day break to prepare for the next match. Both wins came away from home. So hopefully we can change that before the playoffs. I have 3 more chances to achieve this, it would be great to get it straight away against Babel Utd which in turn would give the players a great moral boost for the last 2 months of the regular season.

2 of my players made it into the team of the week. A very deserving reward for both of them, as they performed incredibly well last time out. I take it upon myself to announce it to the squad during the morning training session, the rest of their team mates and members of the coaching team applaud their feat. I am hopeful this will drive both Ardian and Suhendra to continue their good form and other players to aim for the same recognition.

Babel Utd Game

Babel Utd had a cup game 4 days before our match, not only has this made their players a little more fatigued, but also gave us a chance to familiarise ourselves with the new tactic a little bit more. So it’s no wonder the Media have made us favourite to get the win. I make sure to take it all with a pinch of salt, we all know predictions mean nothing in this game.

If that wasn’t enough, Sriwijaya FC losing their game 3-0 in their own ground has really put some added pressure on us to get a result! I make sure the players remain focus on this game, and not the headlines.

Given everything that’s happened this week, it’s no surprise that I go with the exact same 11 as last time out.

6 minutes in and we get a penalty, another set piece! And who better to take it than Suhendra?! He makes no mistake and sends the keeper the wrong way, 1-0!

We certainly aren’t dominating this game, but the score line is the important thing here. And they aren’t exactly creating enough either. The majority of our chances has come from set pieces once again. But just before the half time whistle, a cross into the box during open play is met by Buddy, who cushions it down to Pae, and he fires the ball into the back of the net for his first ever goal for the club. He’s been a really good alternative on the right hand side since the injury to Al Ma’ruf.

2-0 at half time. Just like the game prior. But hopefully we can fight for a clean sheet this time around.

I praise the team for their dominant display, and they come out in the second half fired up! We could have easily have scored another 2 in the first 10 minutes of the second half. But it wasn’t to be. We create more chances, they create nothing worth reporting. And the game ends 2-0. We get the clean sheet I was after, the win and even more importantly 2 games in a row where we totally dominate the opposition.

We are just 1 point behind the leaders, but Persis Solo are on the same number of points as us. It’s going to be a photo finish! And we’re picking up the pace at the right time.


The following game takes us to the city of Pekanbaru to face PSPS. Again we get some results go our way the day before our match as we find out Persis Solo lost their game to Babel Utd. The media have PSPS as favourites for our clash, and given the fact that we have another one and a half hour plus plane journey ahead of us, I would be happy to come back with a point.

Despite having Ma’ruf back from injury, I decide to stick to the same 11 as the last two games. And who can blame me? Plus he could do with getting his match sharpness up before being thrown into the deep end.

Although we weren’t exactly on top, we get the first goal in the 16th minute. And no, it’s not a set piece. It turns out that balls over the top are the way forward around these parts, and when you have a player in the form that Suhendra is in, he will find anybody he wants with a long pass. In this instance it’s Muslim he finds making a run, like a good shadow striker should be making, he takes the ball around the keeper and shoots into an empty net. Great start!

Unfortunately Buddy was unable to put us further ahead in the next big chance of the game, and we were made to pay for that when PSPS scored an equalizer just one minute before half time.

We start the better team in the second half, missing some glorious opportunities to get back in front. But football is a cruel sport, and it’s PSPS who score the next goal with a cross into the box and a rocket of a volley from their striker who’s name is like a cat walked across a keyboard.

We go full on attacking in search of a goal, but despite Al Ma’ruf having a solid comeback game, we just couldn’t score. This was as even game as they come, but they took their chances and we didn't.

Sriwijaya FC win their game later the same day, and with that they guarantee a place in the play-offs. Our next opponent is the team they just beat, so if things go well, we will have the same outcome.

Cilegon United Game

Before we even kick a football, we got to find out how the other two teams around us go on in their respective games. Persis Solo drew their game, but guaranteed their place in the playoffs, that means we are also just one point away from doing the same! Sriwijaya FC did what they so often do, and that’s win games. They are now 7 points ahead of us and look dead certain to finish top of the league.

We did enough to merit a better result last game, so there is no need for any drastic measures in the lineup department. So I go with pretty much the same team, making just one alteration at the top. Mursalim for Fauzi, who has not scored as many as he should have so far during my time at the club.

8 minutes in, and the same play we see every match works wonders once again. Long ball over the top by Pae, which finds Buddy 1v1 with the keeper and he slots it in the corner to make it 1-0. Pae returning the favour after Buddy assisted him for his first ever goal 2 games ago. Safe to say, the right side of this team is in safe hands with either Pae or Al Ma’ruf playing.

Two minutes later, and those two combine again on the right flank. But this time Pae crosses it to Mursalim who heads the ball into the far corner to make it 2-0! Get those playoff tickets ready we are coming! Great to see that my one change in personnel for this game has already paid off.

12 minutes later we conceded a very similar goal. Same side, same type of header. 2-1, and I am already regretting my “tickets ready” comment!

Not to worry though, Muslim who seems to have finally found some form, scored a contender for goal of the month minutes later, a 25 yard rocket to the bottom right hand corner of the goal. We’re looking good again!

By far the most entertaining half of my career so far. We managed to score 3 goals with only 7 shots on target, which is a huge improvement on where we were during my first few games.

The second half couldn’t be any more different. The first and only real opportunity of another goal happening came in the 61st minute when they had a goal rightly disallowed for offside.

We hold on to the lead in a professional way, and the game ends 3-1. We made the playoffs!

Reply to Comments

mgriffin2012 – You are absolutely right. I think that’s what made this team the perfect fit for David, they were doing incredibly well already, which meant he had plenty of breathing room to mess up, learn and put it right.

TheLFCFan – Yeah, 3 goals for a team that were struggling to put chances away seems like a real positive. Hopefully it will be down to the tactic and not the opposition having a bad day at the office.

Tango – True words of wisdom! And David certainly taken them on board. With 3 wins in 4 with this tactic under his belt, he’s beginning to believe in what he created. But it probably needs a bit of tweaking still.

J_ames – Thank you for the kind words, the maximum points wasn’t to be unfortunately. But nevertheless I’m still pretty happy with the latest result!
A couple of decent results in there which have helped you no-end. The Pekanbaru result was a shame given that it could have put you just one point behind the leaders rather than 4 but hopefully you can make up the difference as the season goes on.
There's noticeable progress being made, which is great to see, and hopefully it continues towards the latter stages of the season. If you're able to get the club up, that's when the fun truly begins, as you'll be able to bring foreign players to the club. It's not all bad in the second tier, though a sneaky way of getting up faster is to try and bring players that have been naturalized in the past to the club.

There's quite a few of them kicking about!

Good luck :D
The new tactic sure looks to be working! If this is the start of a good run, it might even get you into a late battle for top the league and who knows where it may end!
the final events of the league are yet to unfold, but this new tactical approach does look to have brought something new to the team; Let's see how far you can go
Maxporto's avatar Group Maxporto
2 yearsEdited

The ending to Phase One

2 games left to go, 1 against bottom, the other against top of the league.

But before those games, a couple of surprising news. I came 3rd in the manager of the month award! The first bit of recognition in my new profession, and with that the board also decide to throw in some very welcomed praise, just to boost my ego a little bit more.

And while we’re at it, we might as well find out what the players themselves think of me now that I’ve been here for 3 months or so.

And again, a little bit more of that ego boost juice, it’s a big improvement from the beginning of my reign.

It comes at a good time, as just before the last game of the season we will have a bunch of new arrivals at the club. We will have 1 game and around 10 days to get them up to speed with our philosophy, a few of them have been with us on trial since we agreed terms so that should help them settle a lot quicker!

Now if all of this wasn’t enough… Sriwijaya FC have lost their latest game, which means, if we are to win the next game, we will be just 1 point behind them heading into the final day clash against them!

With all that positivity going around the camp, we are ready to travel to Central Java, for once a coach is all we need for the 4 hour and a bit journey to face Persekat Tegal .

Persekat Tegal Game

Call me boring, but I couldn’t bring myself to change anything from the last game heading into this one.

We start by far the better team, and after just 5 minutes, the incredible partnership of Pae and Buddy continues, the wing back finds the inform striker with a lovely ball over the top, and in the kind of form he’s in Buddy makes no mistake and slots it in the bottom corner to put us ahead!

Even though Buddy is having the game of his life so far, it takes us a whole 40 minutes to manage another shot on target, luckily for us, the ball fell to Buddy after an awful deflection, and he hits the ball into an empty net. 0-2 just as the break approaches.

2 shots on target 2 goals, they managed none. So things couldn’t be looking any better for us.

I keep the half time talk to a minimum. Nothing needs to change, we just need to be professional like we were in our last game.

3 minutes into the second half and the fortunes completely change, they have a free kick, and following a couple of rebounds in the box, the ball falls for Budiyono who is their center back, and he scores the easiest goal of his career.

And less than 10 minutes after that, they get us on the counter and Pae who was having a great game until now, commits a silly foul on one of their players in the box… Penalty to Persekat our goalkeeper guesses the right side, but can’t quite reach the ball, 2-2.

I was beginning to fear the worse, but since that penalty we were again on top, and after a free kick on the right side, our midfield genius Suhendra puts in a lovely cross to the far post and Sukmara meets it with a powerful header into the back of the net! His first ever goal for us and it’s 2-3, with 24 minutes to go.

Like a game of Basketball, they are now on the attack. What a game!

But although they have more of the ball, we hit the cross bar on two occasions! Agonising to say the least. Nevertheless, we hold on to the lead and it’s all to play for in the last game!

Before the last game of the regular season, or in other words, before things get proper serious, our new signings join the rest of the squad. There are seven new players on a permanent deal with an extra centre back arriving on loan.

Not to put any pressure on the new arrivals, but following our last performance 3 of our players were named in the team of the week. Sukmara, Suhendra and Buddy. All playing in positions that we now have plenty of competition for. They have certainly earned their place in the next starting 11.

Sriwijaya FC Game

The winner will win the first phase group A, for our first ever season, this would be an incredible achievement regardless of what we do in the second phase.

Unfortunately apart from the loanee centre back Arta none of the other new players were able to get registered in time for this game. But since we’ve won 4 out of the last 5 games, I really should be sticking to the players that got us those results anyway.

The first chance of the game falls to Buddy on the 5th minute, but he was offiside, his header was straight at the keeper anyway.

10 minutes later, Sriwijaya play the ball on the right hand side, and manage to get a cross into the penalty area, their striker wins the header, and the ball crashes against the post, the rebound is met by Hartono, their winger, and he smashes it into an empty net… 0-1.

We keep our heads up, and stick to the plan. And no longer than 2 minutes after their goal, Mursalim gets fouled inside the box and we get a penalty. Suhendra steps up, and sends the keeper the wrong way. 4th of the season for him, and it’s all levelled again.

The rest of the first half is all Sriwijaya FC, they are well up for it. And as the clock hits 33 minutes, they cross the ball into the box following a corner on the right hand side, and Mursalim who earlier won the penalty, decides to handle the ball. Penalty to them, Kurnia to take it. And Rivky, our goalkeeper guesses it right, as he did in our last game, only this time he manages to parry it and get up quickly to gather the lose ball! 1-1 still the score.

Half time and all to play for in the second.

First chance falls to us once again, this time Suhendra with a free kick, which he curls almost perfectly into the top corner, but is denied by the crossbar. So close!

Not much else to report from the second half unfortunately. We go for it in the last 15minutes to try and get the winner, but it wasn’t to be. We avoid defeat, and that should do the morale wonders heading into the difficult set of fixtures ahead of us.

The groups have been drawn for the second phase, 3 games to try and finish in the top 2 and head to a playoff semi-final. Let’s hope the new arrivals settle in quick, the first game is in 7 days!

Reply to Comments

Jack – Yeah that result turned out to be the difference between 1st and 2nd place in the end, but I am still very happy to head into the Second Phase of the league in the form we’re in.

J_ames – Thanks for the heads up! Going up would be amazing in my first season, but I honestly can’t see it, it will all depend on the new signings I reckon. But I look forward to the top division whenever I reach it

Tango – The easier bit is over now, I am looking forward to the next 6 games and see how the tactic behaves, specially with the new players coming in.

NTBgaming – Certainly seems that way, let’s hope it carries on into the second phase of the league and gets us to a play off semi final at least! Thanks for reading

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