Insert your favourite “I’m back” GIF here.
Can it even be a comeback when most people don’t know who you are? Yeah sure it can, why not.
For those of you who have stumbled onto this and don’t know who I am, here’s a quick summary. My name is Pete Sharland and I used to run the gaming section of Squawka. That was about four years ago. Since then I’ve most been based at Eurosport, which has led to far less writing about gaming. I briefly blogged during FM17 but since then haven’t written anything and have instead followed the community’s progress with great interest like a creepy little lurker. To be fair you may have seen me pop up somewhere in Slack.
Anyways after toying with the idea of blogging for FM20 (more on that later) I have decided to return to writing about my save for FM21. How regularly should you expect content you may be wondering? Well I’m probably in the middle of the FM Pressure to Oliver Jensen scale. Expect more than 3/4 blogs a year but less than however many Oliver (real name redacted) publishes over the course of a year.
So if you read the headline you’ll have worked out that I am taking over Kaizer Chiefs, who play in the top division of South Africa’s football pyramid, called the DSTV Premiership.
Well I can be a bit weird with my FM saves. I haven’t managed in Europe for the past three FMs and I can’t see myself returning immediately. I always like to try new places and (as has been discussed with Ondrej) somewhere where things are a bit different. This is why in FM17 I started as the manager of the Argentina U20s before moving on to a journeyman save. In fact I loved Argentina so much that I’ve been back for the last two editions of the game. I adore the two continental competitions and Argentina’s bat-shit crazy league structure but the AFA are trying to get things to mirror Europe with a 38-game league, and I do not like that.
So this year I’m mixing things up entirely, and moving to an entirely new continent for me, Africa. I’m sure I’ve managed in South Africa as part of the Hexagon challenge in the past (haven’t we all?) but I’ve never stayed beyond a few seasons. It offers an entirely new challenge for me.
Finding unique league structures is quite hard, aside from Mexico, various South American leagues, America and Australia there aren’t too many about. I like that a lot of European leagues have split league structures but South Africa offers something a bit different namely this. THERE ARE SO MANY BLOODY CUPS AND I LOVE IT. Told you I could be a bit weird. Honestly I’m a sucker for a second cup in FM (even though I depise the League Cup in England IRL) but this is something else entirely. So there’s the league obviously. Then you have the Nedbank Cup (FA Cup basically). Then the Telkom Knockout which is a knockout (duh) tournament for the 16 teams in the top division. Then you have the MTN 8 which is a different knockout tournament for the eight top teams in the previous league season. Finally we have the Be A Coach Challenge, which is an annual match between Kaizer Chiefs and rivals Orlando Pirates. Oh and that’s without mentioning either the CAF Champions League or CAF Confederations Cup, the two continental competitions. So plenty for me to be getting on with.
Also there’s the small matter of this hero in goal.
Aims for the save? Honestly it’s a lot of the usual stuff you’d expect. Kaizer Chiefs are a big club that haven’t won the league since 2013 and only three times total this millennium. Furthermore only two teams from South Africa have ever won the Champions League, Mamelodi Sundowns and the aforementioned Orlando. Kaizer Chiefs have huge support in the country and need to be put right. Am I the person to do it? Who the fuck knows but I’m sure it’s going to be fun finding out. I’ll be developing youth a lot in this save, it’s easily my favourite part of FM and hope we can fill the team with plenty of academy babes. Plus we have to win one cup at least right? I’m stacking the deck here.
I really debated starting as manager as South Africa as you can see in the Khune screenshot from the Beta in a similar vein to FM Samo and Norway. To be honest I haven’t ruled it out entirely. I definitely want to manage them at some point but haven’t decided whether to pick it up later or start off as manager.
So as I mentioned I debated writing my FM20 save but decided against it. However I did actually jot down quite a few thoughts. So I plan to release a short, three chapter diary over the next week to give you a brief summation of what happened in Argentina. (Spoiler alert it’s not a lot) Should you read it? I mean that’s entirely up to you but I’ve enjoyed putting it together and it’s not entirely a save story, if that makes any sense.
When the full game releases I’ll start my save and I’ll be trying to update more so in my shiny new slack channel, #asharlandabroad. Please join Slack and specifically my channel. We nerds don’t have a lot of people to talk to about FM but at least we have each other.
So you’re getting quite a lot of content at once. But there’s a lot of pent-up blogging inside me that needs to be released. That was a lot more sexual than I anticipated but let’s roll with it! Until next time!