So, you've bought the new Football Manager 2014 game, you've settled into your armchair for the foreseeable future and told your mum/girlfriend/wife/kids (delete as appropriate) to leave you the hell alone for at least 24 hours, possibly three months.
Your inner gaffer is champing at the bit, but now you need some direction. You're hungry for a challenge, but you don't want to bark up the wrong tree and end up with your P45 before you can properly 'assert your style' on the new squad. Thankfully, Football Manager expert Iain Macintosh is on hand to help...
On day four of his mini series of FM-related features published exclusively on bet.unibet.com, Iain reveals his top tips on the best clubs to manage on the new game.
Challenge 5: Chelmsford City
The Clarets used to be one of the biggest names in the non-league game, but were always denied a place in the Football League by the archaic and flawed system of election. Forced to wander Essex after they were booted out of their old New Writtle Street stadium in 1997, they’ve since found a new 3,000 capacity home and they’re now ripe for a revival.
The facilities aren’t great, but with a large catchment area there is plenty of potential. In Tommy Forecast (GK), Mark Haines (DC), Mark Hughes (MC) and Jeff Goulding (STC), you’ve already got the spine of a decent team, you just need to add depth. Expectations are high, but not unreasonable. You’ll avoid the sack if you can keep them in the top five. If you want a real test of your abilities, but you don’t want to be restricted by a lack of potential, this is the challenge for you.
A PERFECT JOB FOR: Paul Tisdale
Challenge 4: Woodlands Wellington
Woodlands are the whipping boys of the Singapore S-League. In their last 90 league games, they’ve won only 10. It’s their 25th anniversary and they want to celebrate by not being absolutely awful at football. To help you achieve that aim, they have a transfer kitty of barely £30,000 and absolutely no available wage budget. Oh, and if you can’t get them to mid-table, a level they haven’t achieved since 2006, they’ll sack you. If you think you’re something special, just you try and prove it here.
Your only hope of success is to successfully energise the South Korean duo of Jang Jo-Yoon (STC) and Moon Soon-Ho (MC). Between them, they have enough flair and drive to lift your team to respectability. Don’t expect their talents to be matched anywhere else though. You need scouts, and you need them fast. Good luck.
A PERFECT JOB FOR: Jimmy Hogan
Challenge 3: Toronto FC
Toronto were the first Canadian club to join MLS, but their recent history has been poor and expectations are deliciously low. Take this job and you’ll be replacing Ryan Nelson, (let’s hope that you’re not the one to tell him), but you’ll be given plenty of time to settle in and carve out a team for the future. The only requirement is that the team is ‘competitive.’
The mechanics of MLS football are far from straightforward and you’ll need to brush up on the rules (try this for starters), but the self-contained nature of the league makes it a fascinating challenge. The small database makes it perfect for slower laptops too. You’ll have some good players, notably the lumpy forward celebrating in the above picture, Danny Koevermans (STC), and cultured wideman Alvaro Rey (AMR). You’ll also have Robert Earnshaw (STC).
A PERFECT JOB FOR: Steve McClaren
Challenge 2: Rangers
The blue half of Glasgow offers a unique challenge to the hardened Football Manager; the chance to single-handedly restore a grand institution to former glories, but from a far lower starting point than, say, Liverpool or Nuremberg. Make no mistake, failure is not an option. If it even starts to look like you’ll fail to finish first, you’ll be out on your ear. But seriously, you could push the laptop in front of your cat, go to the pub and return to find yourself ten points clear at the top.
In Lee Wallace (LB), you’ve got one of the best full-backs in the country. David Templeton (AML) has so much pace and guile that he’ll annihilate the left-backs of the Scottish third flight. Lee McCulloch (MC) may be creaking now, but his mental stats are off the chart and he’ll be a multiplier on everyone around him. A lingering transfer embargo means that you can’t buy anyone until Christmas, but that just means you won’t be rushed into anything.
A PERFECT JOB FOR: Claudio Ranieri
Challenge 1: Manchester United
Taking charge of United has always felt like the kind of job that is off limits to the serious Football Manager. Booting Sir Alex Ferguson out and guiding the team that he built to yet more glory just seemed a bit too much like cheating. But not anymore. This is no longer an easy job.
The squad, bereft of anyone in midfield who can tackle, is hopelessly unbalanced. Yes, Wayne Rooney (STC) and Robin van Persie (STC) are world class footballers, but unless you enter the game with the reputation of an international footballer, neither of them will trust you until you win something.
Nemanja Vidic (DC) and Rio Ferdinand (DC) are creaking, Michael Carrick (MC) has to be carefully managed and the rest of the squad is painfully average. If you don’t hit the ground running, you’ll hit the ground like a grand piano pushed out of a helicopter. You may have renewed sympathy for David Moyes after this.
A PERFECT JOB FOR: Jose Mourinho.
Iain Macintosh is the author of the best-selling book, Football Manager Stole My Life.