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Mundial | Why I Love FM

We sat down with the lovely chaps at Mundial to talk all things Football Manager. It’s fair to say that they’re big fans of ours with references to the game and its cultural impact cropping up in the magazine and website. Issue 18 of the Mundial mag is now available to order, we thoroughly suggest you check it out. Their writing is very good, annoyingly good.

Mundial | Why I Love FM

We spoke to Dan, Josh, Mike and Seb about why they love FM. 

Dan Sandison - Editor-in-Chief

Went to the same school as Steven Warnock.

Seb White - Managing Editor

Amateur War Enthusiast, loves The Beavers.

Mike Backler - Commercial Partnerships

Lives by the sea, "starred" in a football film called The Jolly Boy's Last Stand with Andy Serkis.

Josh Millar - Digital Editor

Welsh, will tell you about it every day.

What do you look for when selecting a team? 

Dan – I usually start with the team I support. Change the captain to a home-grown lad, lose 12 on the bounce and get sacked too soon. Once that’s over I’ll pick someone with a cool crest from Portugal or Spain. 

Josh – It completely depends on how I’m feeling on the day. Like Dan, I tend to start with my team, but I love taking on challenges from the lower leagues too. Maybe a sleeping giant that needs my innovative tactics to get back into the big time.

Mike – I like starting with my club, Charlton or a sleeping giant. A team living off past glories, a team I can bring the crowds back in with.

Seb – I always love to start low and take Yeovil Town or more recently Hampton & Richmond from the bottom to the very top. 

What's the first thing you do when you start a save? 

Josh – I’m not one to make wholesale changes to the backroom staff, but I need to make sure my staff are up to the task of finding young talent.

Mike – Analyse the squad. Trim the fat. Streamline it so I have 22 players (two in each position of course) then look for areas to strengthen.

Seb – Get the squad set out into the formation that suits them best, then you need to trim where necessary in order to get your own players in, as quick as possible.

How do you approach transfers? 

Dan – I approach transfers like I have a mysterious benefactor, I like to imagine people think “have you seen their business, it’s too good to be true” and then the bailiffs come.

Josh – All of my budget goes into wages, if I can avoid paying for a player, I’ll do that. Every January I’ll be looking for a player whose contracts are expiring (the more Welsh the better). I’m incredibly savvy with the loan market as well. I’ll nick anyone who’s sitting in the reserves of a big team on the basis that I’ll eventually sign them for nothing. I like to be in control of finances at all times.

Mike – I very rarely start with a team with cash so I’m more than used to perusing the must-have loans and freebies.

Seb – I’m not afraid to sign players and ship them out fairly quickly, especially if their average rating isn’t quite up to scratch… 

What do you look for in players? 

Dan – If I have heard of them, or someone has told me that they are promising, or if I’m absolutely certain they wear their socks quite low, I’m going to try and buy them. 

Josh - I want ambitious players who’ll stay loyal to a project. I’ll never sign someone that might upset the group that I have. I try not to sign anyone over the age of 30 but I can never resist bringing in a former international on a free if it means shirt sales will go up.

Seb – An average rating over seven, is that so much to ask for? 

Favourite type of player? 

Dan - I’m a simple man. I just want goals. Target man. Corners. Scruffy goal-line melees. All that. If someone is in the right place at the right time that’s enough for me.

Josh - Wingers. I love playing with wingers, my style is generally defensive full-backs, so all my out balls are to rapid players who can cross the ball into a Target Man or Advanced Forward.

Mike – Wingers in a 4-3-3 who can score goals. One advanced playmaker who can chip in too but more importantly control the tempo. Then add in a ball winner who can run around like some sort of mad dog. 

Seb – Wingers – Pace. Dribbling. Creativity. 

Greatest managerial achievement?

Dan - I’ve never won anything on Football Manager, but once I played it every day for about six months at work and didn’t get sacked. That was pretty special.

Josh - European success with Derby on FM13 was when I first felt like I cracked it. Winning the top division three years in a row with Will Hughes ruining defenses felt good. But my greatest achievement was turning FK Petrzalka into a European powerhouse from the Slovakian league. I won the league 8 times in a row and consistently reached the latter stages of European competitions. Winning never got boring.

Mike - Dynamo Dresden. If there isn’t a statue of me, there should be. Took them from Bundesliga 2 no-hopers to European Finalists and German Cup winners on a shoestring. The Rudolf-Harbig is absolutely rocking. The owners need to back me next season as there are plenty of suitors back in Blighty.

Seb – Taking Hampton & Richmond from the Conference South to the Championship Play-Offs. 

Best signing? 

Dan - I bought Iago Aspas back for the reds, and I must admit he really made up for that first spell.

Josh - Steven N’Zonzi at Derby, I stole him (on a free, obviously) from Stoke as they went down and I went up in my first season. The fans were initially annoyed because of Stoke being big rivals, but he sat in my midfield for 6 years as Derby won the league three times in a row.

Mike – I got a prime Moussa Dembele for the Hammers, two 25-goal seasons, made it look easy. 

Best newgen? 

Josh - Peter Pavelka at Petrzalka. He was a local wonderkid that somehow came through the academy. He scored 14 in his first 18 games as a 16-year-old to help me get promoted from the Second Division. He didn’t leave the team for the next 12 years. He eventually, heartbreakingly, left for China so he could earn better money. I loved him and nearly got his name on the back of my Petrzalka shirt at home.

Mike - Marcus Schubert. Goalkeeper. Leader. Legend. The protector of the city of Dresden.

Seb – I must admit I’m pretty ruthless and don’t always allow time for youth to develop… controversial. 

Why do you love FM? 

Dan - Full transparency, I’m awful at it. I’m all heart and no head. However, it keeps me coming back for more. It’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it? 

Josh - Growing up in a rugby country in South Wales meant that generally, my exposure to football was on the tele. Football Manager let me escape into whatever I wanted to do. I realised very quickly that I was never going to be a professional footballer, so this is as close as I’m going to get to being involved at doing that, even if it’s in my own head. I’ve got chants that I’ve come up with for players that don’t exist that I still sing to myself. I’ve turned some of the greatest players in the world into legends at Derby and Wrexham, where else could you do that? It’s the best, innit? 

Mike - I play the mobile version as I’m a relatively new Father who can’t quite commit the hours, but it’s absolutely perfect for getting lost in a save on a commute, or a flight or sitting on the beach when he’s asleep.

Seb - Because of its simplicity over time, particularly in the mobile version of the latest incarnation. It just allows you to get totally lost in it. The best thing to do has always been to find players in the game that you then relate to in real life, it adds another level of realism to the game.