Finding the “right” club somehow feels like it may be hardest part of Football Manager…
Here’s a little backstory:
Like every FM player, I was excited when FM21 was announced. I had found the perfect team, Elche in La Liga. Elche had been promoted back to La Liga after some years in the 2nd division. They had gone through some rough financial times on top of having one of the smallest budgets in La Liga. They scrambled to find free agents players to be ready for their first game. They hired ex Eibar CEO Patricia Rodríguez Barrios as CEO to oversee this new transition at the club. It had the perfect recipe for a great save. With the game out, I dove straight in and began my save with Elche. Half way through the season I was in 6th place and ended the season at 3rd.
I’m not sure what I did right but I didn’t enjoy it at all, it seemed way too easy. I decided to scrap the save and went on a hunt to find another team with a great underdog story.
A week or so later, I came across Sportclub Verl, aka SC Verl or Verl, in Germany’s 3rd tier, 3. Liga.
Founded in 1924, SC Verl has mainly operated in the amateur leagues in Germany throughout most of their history. Here’s a lil’ insight into their recent history, per wikipedia:
“Having played at least fourth tier level since 1970, with 17 consecutive seasons in the third tier, makes SC Verl one of the most consistent top teams of Germany’s amateur football. One of the smallest cities to field a fourth-tier football team, and together with neighbouring club SC Wiedenbrück one of only two clubs in the Regionalliga West working under amateur conditions (both players and coaches have day-time jobs), the club is without any liabilities – a direct result of a continued policy of “no credit financing”.
The club achieved mid-table finishes for their first eleven seasons in the Regionalliga West after 2008. In the truncated 2019–20 season, they finished second on the points-per-game rule, but advanced to the promotion play-offs after first-placed SV Rödinghausen declined to apply for a licence to play in the 3. Liga. Verl then beat Lokomotive Leipzig on away goals to win promotion to the 3. Liga for the first time.”
What caught my eye while doing research on Verl was their idea of being a financially sustainable club and promoting from within. This is something that I want to maintain as part of the “club culture.” In the last 15 years, ex-players such as current Chairman/Director of Football Raimund Bertels, former manager Andreas Golombek and manager Guerino Capretti (plus Assistant Manager/player Sergej Schmik) have become a pivotal part of their rise though the leagues.
Chairman/Director of Football, Raimund Bertels played for the club between ’92-’95 then left the club for SPVGG Beckum. In 2001, he came back to Verl as Manager of Verl II (2nd team). In 2008, he was promoted to first team Assistant Manager to Mario Ermisch. Following the departure of Ermisch in 2009, Bertels was promoted to manager, a position he held until 2013. In June 2013, Bertels became chairman and director of football.
Current 1st team Manager Guerino Capretti had a 5 year spell with the club between 2010-2015. In 2017, he came as first team manager.
Sergej Schmik signed with Verl in the summer of 2018. In January 2020, Capretti appointed Schmik as his assistant manager. I’m not sure if the fact that they were youth players at SC Paderborn has anything to do with it. Maybe it’s just a coincidence.
Former Manager Andreas Golombek was in charge of Verl from 2013 until 2017. During his time as manager Golombek maintained a mid table standing. Golombek had a two year spell as a player in 1994-1996.
SC Verl have had a dream start to professional football. In the moment of writing they sit 7th in 3. Liga. Let’s hope their success continues.
This brings me to some rules and objectives to make the game a bit more challenging and hopefully interesting:
- Continue to promote/sign ex-players to the backroom staff.
– As mentioned above, I want this to be part of my club culture.
- If possible, only sign players with a German passport via free transfers or loan.
– I like the idea of using only homegrown players, so for the first five years in charge I will do my best to only sign players with a German passport, be it German born or naturalized.
- Only use players developed at the club after June, 2025.
– Since the club’s academy isn’t the best, I’ll need a few years of investment to be able to get the academy up to standards. Once the appropriate investment has been made then I shall see some decent youth players come through our academy.
- Self imposed “transfer embargo” after 2025.
– No players will be signed under any circumstance after June, 2025.
- Promotion to Bundesliga by 2025.
- Become Bundesliga champions.
- Surpass Bayern’s commercial revenue.
– One of the toughest things to achieve in FM, whether you’re in La Liga, Ligue 1, Premier League or Serie A, is to surpass the top club’s commercial revenue.
- Have the best academy in Germany by 2030.
– Depending on the chairman/s in these next years this should not be impossible to achieve. Let’s hope we get some nice chairmans voted in.
- Win the Champion’s League with a starting 11 that was developed at the club.
– My ultimate dream, haha, we shall see!
I’m excited to see how this save turns out and hope you enjoy the journey. I’m hoping to have to do at least one weekly update per season, depending on how much I don’t digress when writing.
Let me know your thoughts! Feel free to comment below or give me a shout on Twitter.