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Devil's Advocate

Started on 25 May 2023 by mrtepig
Latest Reply on 29 May 2023 by mrtepig
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Watching some videos the other day I started thinking about how "The Red Devils" is a pretty common nickname for football teams and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to try and manage them all in Football Manager. So, I went on Google and came to this list of possible teams:

They have been sorted by reputation according to the FM Editor, so this is sort of the path I want to be taking up the 9 levels of hell:

9. Crawley Town (England - League Two)
8. Radnicki 1923 (Serbia - SuperLeague)
7. Grazer AK (Austria - First Division)
6. Hapoel Tel Aviv (Israel - Premier League)
5. Kaiserslautern (Germany - Bundesliga 2)
4. América de Cali (Colombia - First Division)
3. Independiente (Argentina - Premier Division)
2. Toluca (Mexico - Liga MX)
1. Manchester United (England - Premier League)

We could add 2 national teams with the Red Devils nickname: Congo and of course, Belgium. I'm not the biggest fan of international management in FM but we'll consider them if it's going very well.

There's also a 10th team, FC Rouen. However, they play in the French National 2 which is a non-playable league. We will only consider them if they gain promotion and we are sacked from Crawley Town as Crawley has a bigger reputation than Rouen.
Now, let's talk about who will be managing Crawley Town for the 2022/23 season.

As a Mexican, I am very familiar with a footballing legend we know as "El Diablo Mayor" or "The Greatest Devil", Paraguayan striker José Saturnino Cardozo. He earned this nickname whilst playing for Toluca (1994-2005), where he achieved 4 Liga MX and 1 CONCACAF titles. Here's a list of records he broke:
- Toluca top goalscorer (249 goals, this also makes him the 4th best in Liga MX history)
- Most playoff goals (43)
- Most goals in finals (9)
- Most goals in a single tournament (29 in Apertura 2002)
+ 4x top goalscorer, 3x best Paraguayan player, 2002 South American Player of the Year, 2002 Liga MX MVP, 2003 World's Best Top Division Goal Scorer

Quite the player to say the least. Now he is a manager, having sat on benches in Paraguay, Mexico and Guatemala. He owns a 40% winning record and has never won a title.

But of course, if he is a real manager his data will be in the game and thus we will not be able to play as him. As far as I could find, Carzodo only has 2 daughters, so we'll be playing as a fictional José Cardozo Jr.

Junior was born in Toluca in 1999, right between Cardozo Sr's first and second Liga MX titles. "El Diablito", or "Little Devil" as he was known, played in Toluca's academy before leaving when his father was sacked in 2016. He opted to focus on his studies, graduating from business management as well as getting nationally certified as a manager by FEMEXFUT. Thanks to his father paying for the best school in Toluca, Cardozo Jr. can also speak English.

We will begin with a National A License and Semi-Pro reputation, our best attributes will be in attacking and technical training. And this is how it begins, a 23-year old José Cardozo Jr. has taken the reigns of English League Two outfit Crawley Town. Will he become a successful manager, becoming the Greatest Devil in different countries, or will he be a middling manager like his father? Only time will tell.
A little bit more information on the save:
- I have loaded up Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Colombia, England, Germany, Israel, Mexico and Serbia.
- My goal is to win as much as possible with the Red Devils in order to build up a reputation and move up to the next team.
- Despite moving teams, I will try to maintain a loyalty towards staff and players where possible.
- I will try to bring in as many Paraguayan and Mexican players as possible, especially if we can have a Paraguayan striker to break goal scoring records.

Feedback, suggestions or any other comments are much appreciated!
In the next post you can expect to see a little bit of context about Crawley Town, expectations, both mine and the board's, as well as my preliminary lineup and some ideas about where to improve the team.

It is in this English town of 118 thousand inhabitants where we start our adventure. The club was founded in 1896 but only became professional in 1962. The club hasn’t enjoyed much success, with their biggest trophy being their 2011 Vanarama National win to be promoted to League Two. They achieved a consecutive promotion to League One but were relegated again in 2015. Their best FA Cup runs came in 2010/11 and 2011/12 when they reached the 5th round and faced Manchester United and Stoke City respectively. They are now set to begin an 8th consecutive season in League Two.

Now let’s start by taking a look at our team. The board expects us to avoid battling for relegation, and judging by the lack of depth I’d have to agree.
Here’s what my potential starting 11 would look like:
I’d like to note I’m only going by my assistant manager’s opinion on who the best players are, as we go along I’ll make adjustments based on performance and such.

We’ll try to keep it tight at the back with the 5 defenders, and try to hit other teams on the counter. We could possibly switch to a 4-3-1-2, 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 in games we should easily win or when we have any other advantage (such as playing against 10).

I’d like to highlight our three best players, at least according to our assistant. You can open the spoiler if you want to see their profiles:

Ryan Schofield
Of course, not allowing too many goals is key to staying in League Two, which is why I expect the 22-year-old on loan from Huddersfield to showcase his ability this season.

Brandon Mason
A speedy left-back who’s decent at crossing is also important for playing the way we want to play. I expect him to be an important player on both sides of the ball.

Dom Telford
You can’t win without scoring goals and that’s just what I expect Dom to do for us, just as he did 25 times for Newport County last season. I expect him to pair up well with Ashley Nadesan, who’s more physical and can provide balls for him to score.

Our preseason schedule looks like this:
@ Horsham (Isthmian Premier)
vs Brighton (Premier League)
vs Colchester (League Two)
vs Chelsea U21

You can expect a report of these games in the next update. As always, feedback and suggestions are welcome.

Preseason Report

I'd call this a somewhat successful preseason. The first two matches were very good, especially holding a Premier League to just a 1-0 loss.
After that, we lost to Colchester, who will probably finish somewhere around us in the league table. This is a disappointing loss against an opponent of similar stature, we just couldn't get any shots or passes on target.
Against Chelsea we had a similar first half, rescuing a result with goals in the 84th and 91st minutes. Overall, I know this team can step up and play well, my job is now to keep that our consistent form and secure a place in the 23/24 League Two season.

I'd like to highlight the best performer of the preseason: Deep Lying Forward Caleb Chukwuemeka.
With 2 goals and 1 assist this preseason, we're hoping the Aston Villa loanee can adapt to the role we want him to play this season and perform just as well over the next 46 games.

In the next update we'll go over the August League Two fixtures as well as our Carabao Cup 1st Round tie against Exeter City.

You are reading "Devil's Advocate".

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