First Steps in Fredrikstad

Yes, we’re already half way through the 2015 season! The new PC, combined with my love (already!) for this save, means I have gone through half a season in a few hours last night. Our first few fixtures went like this:

OBOS1-5.png

That wasn’t the start I was hoping for. Beating Levanger on opening day was good, but I was a bit concerned that we had so much trouble beating them. “Ah well”, I thought, “it’s our first league game. Things will get better”.

Then Sogndal came. Bodor had a bit of a knock, so I decided to play my 15-year old backup. Skulbørsted, at left back. Sogndal instantly recognised this, and decided to flood the right wing. Skulbørsted didn’t handle this too well and permitted Teniste to keep crossing the ball. We had conceded 3 goals before half-time, all from crosses from our left. I decided to put Bodor back in, but obviously, the damage was done.

SogndalCrosses.png

The game against Bryne was okay, we got a point against a team similar to us away from home, so I was pleased, but that feeling would soon change into fear.

We went to visit Hødd, who drew their first three matches. They are predicted to finish 11th, 1 spot below us, so I hoped we would see an exciting, even match. Unfortunately though, we turned out to be on the receiving end of a beating.. Again, we conceded 3 goals from crosses from the opposition’s right side, with the first two coming from indirect free kicks. For some reason we seem to have a lot of trouble with indirect free kicks from the wings, even though I (thought I) set correct instructions, which were to put a man mark instruction on my taller players, and pushing forward my shorter players.

The 4-4-2 didn’t work as I hoped it would. The strikers were a bit isolated, and the defence looked a shambles. After a narrow cup win against non-league opposition and another loss to a poor team, I decided to switch things around. I needed more attacking support on the wings, so I moved my wingers a bit forward. On top of that, I decided to drop a striker position and instead use a defensive midfielder to fill gaps between defence and midfield. The new tactic I came up with was this:

NewFormation.png

The results speak for itself:

OBOS6-12.png

Finally, we got some goals, and five wins in a row! Of course, the last of those 5 wins was absolutely the best game of our season! Brann, the obvious favourite for the title, who had won all of their first 8 games, came to Fredrikstad, expecting a win, but were left empty-handed. Even though they were the ones to score first, we managed to turn it around and were even in a 4-1 lead after 84 minutes. Begby and Rafn, our wingers, had the time of their life, putting in a stunning performance. I was thrilled.

Fredrikstad v Brann_ Pitch Split-3.png

The last few games, as you can see, didn’t go as well, but I’m confident we can pick up form again after the summer break. The results were got were all very unlucky, and I think we have what it takes to challenge the play-off spots!

League12.png

Now let’s hope I didn’t jinx it.

Advertisements

Settling in Østfold

So here we are, in the beautiful country of Norway. When I first looked at the stadium, I was sold already. The stadium is quite new, and was built on a spot that used to be a large shipyard. This is replicated in the new stadium, as the two main stands look like the old workshops that used to stand in the same area. The stadium offers place to over 12.000 fans (mostly seated) and is owned by the city of Fredrikstad.

The league

As mentioned in the introduction post, we are predicted to finish 10th in a league with 16 teams. Places 1 and 2 offer direct promotion, 3-6 offers a playoff spot, while on the other hand finishing 13th or below means direct relegation. We’ll have to be wary not to finish there.

Brann are the absolute favourites for the league, and I expect them to walk the league. Their players are far superior to the rest of the league, so I’m not worried if we get outplayed there. Sogndal are another strong side, we play them at home in our second game of the season, so that will be a good test. The rest of the teams should be quite close, and I can’t wait to get the season started!

The players & the tactic

Before I start off this piece, I repeat again: I have absolutely no tactical knowledge, so the next part may seem very confusing and incorrect to some of you. If you spot something in my tactic, please let me know in the comments below as I really appreciate advice in this section.

Upon closer inspection of the team, I decided that I would probably have to go with a tactic I normally avoid: a flat 4-4-2. This is due to the fact that some of my best players are wingers, but are not familiar with the attacking midfield spots. My RB and LBs are awful in the attacking attribute department, so they will focus mostly on defending as Limited Full Backs. The left and right midfielder will both be wingers, one on attack, one on support, and the central midfielders are divided between an attacking and a defensive role (Ball Winning Midfielder – Defend and Advanced Playmaker – Attack). Similar to the midfield, I paired a Defensive Forward with an Advanced Forward. To be fair, the reason behind all this is mostly that the players I had to my disposal were best in these roles, but in my mind the tactic made sense to me.

The main player for this team will be Roger Risholt. He is a fantastic player who has been an important player for sides within the top and second tier of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. As that suggests, he has been a real journeyman, playing for no fewer than 10 sides since 1996. Fredrikstad has always had a special place in his heart though, as he has now returned for his third (!) spell with the Aristocrats. Time is running out on him though, he’s 35 years old and I’m sure he won’t be around forever anymore..

Roger Risholt_ Overview Profile.png

Another player in the autumn of his career that will be important to our success this season is actually the first transfer I made. When I was looking through the team, I noticed there wasn’t a good option for left back. Scouring the free transfer market, I found someone very familiar to any Dutch readers of this blog: Boldizsár Bodor. The 32-year old Hungarian played for Roda JC most of his career, and had one season with NAC Breda in 2013/14. This means he hadn’t played competitively for over half a season, but I was willing to take the gamble since his wage demands were very modest, and his experience very valuable.

Boldizsár Bodor_ Overview Profile.png

Does this team have young players at all, I can hear you asking? Sure! There’s a few in the first team (see below for the most promising ones), and there’s absolutely loads of talent for the long term. I will go on about them in another post, to keep this (already long post) a bit compact.

Pre-season fixtures

Not much special to be reported here. We didn’t get beaten, but to be fair most of the opposition was quite poor. The result I was obviously most happy with was the draw with Swedish top-tier side Göteborg. I expected us to get smashed there, so to come away with a deserved draw was very promising.

PreSeason.png

Fredrikstad v IFK Göteborg_ Pitch Split.png

That’s all for now, I don’t want you to spend a whole evening reading about some Dutchman’s struggles. The season is about to start and I’m raring to go. Once again, feedback is much appreciated, so please let me know what you think!

The next update will probably be somewhere around the halfway point of the season, so stay tuned!

Bli med meg!

The FM community can be a wonderful place sometimes. I was playing a bit of FM15 last night, updating my Twitter on the latest progress of my FM15 Panathinaikos career, when @ArsenalQ8, one of the close followers of the save, contacted me and offered me a copy of FM16! I’m so grateful for this (go check him out, he’s a really nice guy who has been interacting with me quite a lot!), and can’t wait to start!

So here we are, suddenly the save could be started. I had already made plans for a team I wanted to be for this edition of the game, so all I needed to do was move over the graphics and set up the new save.

When choosing the team, I decided that it’d have to be a team in a league that was similar to the Greek Superleague, as this level of leagues appeals to me most. It’s definitely not a league that is top class, but the leagues have a decent chance of delivering a team for the Champions League group stage.

Upon further inspection, there were only a few leagues that interested me, and I started checking out the teams. Something original, preferably a team with history, but not one of the top teams. And there it was…

Fredrikstad_FK_Logo
Fredrikstad FK

The Norwegian league! Not just the Norwegian league.. The OBOS-ligaen, which is the second tier in Norwegian football. Not exactly the level Panathinaikos are at, but an interesting team? Yes, very much so.

Fredrikstad are a team name I remember seeing quite often. I’m definitely not an expert on football, but for some reason I seem to remember many club names and logos, and Fredrikstad was no exception. I knew they had some history in the Tippeligaen, but what I didn’t knew was that they haven’t actually won it since 1961. In that year, Fredrikstad, a team from the south-east of Norway, won their 9th top-tier title, but since then – even though they did come close a couple of times – never managed to bring the trophy back to the coast of the river Glomma.

From the end of the 1970s until 2003, they even went back and forth between the second and third tier. After getting promotion back to the Tippeligaen and remaining in mid-table there for a few seasons, they managed to reach 2nd place in 2008. For a brief moment, it looked like Fredrikstad were back, but it turned out to be a one-off season; in 2009, Fredrikstad got relegated to the OBOS-ligaen again. During the first half of the 2010s, they went back and forth between the top division and the second division, and last season, 2014, Fredrikstad finished 6th in the league with 48 points from 30 games.

And this is where I come in..

My goals

The team are predicted to finish 10th this season, which would mean the team would remain in the league. For the first season I’m okay with this, although I expect to finish higher than 10th. From what I’ve seen, FM16 seems to be a more difficult game than the previous version, so this might turn out unrealistic and I might end up getting the sack after 4 games in charge, but I’ll be aiming for 6th/7th place in our first season. Promotion should hopefully be a possibility in season 2 (and if not, we should definitely get promotion in season 3). The long term goal for the save is of course to bring Fredrikstad back to the heights of the Tippeligaen, but financial stability will always go before short-term success.

As a final note

This save will be my main save of FM16 (that is, if I don’t get sacked and can’t get a job after), so I hope you’ll enjoy the ride!

In no way expect great tactical pieces as I’m a “casual” player with almost no tactical knowledge. I will discuss my tactics, and if you think it doesn’t make sense, I’m more than happy if you leave a comment (please be polite though) to help me out.

So, now it’s time for me to take a good look at the squad in order to get to know my players. My next post will discuss the team and potential tactics I might use. Once again, I hope you enjoy reading about the save, and please leave a comment if you have any questions or tips!