FM21 | Creating Club and Country | #3 The Club

After setting up our new nation in the two previous posts, it’s now time to create the club to manage for this adventure.

Post #1 The Birth of a Nation
Post #2 Location, location, location

Once again I turn to the former Soviet Union for inspiration. A natural choice considering that my made up nation Bordavia will be situated within the borders of Russia, but even more so because of the fact that due to their isolation they are in many ways still bound to the traditions used in the Soviet Union.

Centrally organised sport in the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was known for large, centrally organised sports clubs and societies. Their goals were to develop mass physical culture and sports and to provide facilities and conditions for sports training and improvement in athletes’ skills. They were  often closely associated with a certain ministry (aircraft industry, food workers, tractor industry, KGB, Red Army, Soviet Air Force etc), with industries being state-funded. This is something that intrigues me and a path I’m very inclined to go down when it comes to creating our club. As one of the few bastions of true communism left, the nation of Bordavia has of course used this method of state financed sports for many years. I’m looking for two things when I create my club. It needs to fit the backstory and I want the graphic profile to be aesthetically fitting.

Let’s look at the four most well-known Soviet sport societies for a bit of inspiration!

Club inspiration

Dynamo

Dynamo, meaning “Power in Motion”,  is a sports and fitness society created in 1923 in the Soviet Union. It was created under the sponsorship of the State Political Directorate (GPU), the Soviet political police, and was also closely connected to the GPU’s successors such as the KGB. Naturally Dynamo is called “The Police team”. Some of the most famous Dynamo teams are Dynamo Moscow, Kiyv and Minsk.

A club with close links to the feared Bordavian political police would certainly fit the narrative, but I don’t love the aesthetics. The blue simply feels a bit too friendly for what I have in mind and I’m becoming more and more certain that I want red to be one of the club’s colours.

Lokomotiv

The Lokomotiv Sports Clubs were closely linked to the Soviet railway system and its employees. If the name didn’t give that away the stylized locomotive on the crest is a tell-tale sign. Even though there’s a bit of red in this crest, choo-choo trains doesn’t exactly excite me, so this is a firm no from me.

Spartak

Back in the days Spartak (from the Roman slave “Spartacus”) was the sport society supported by the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League or Komsomol, the Soviet Union Communist youth organization. It gathered athletes from several different Soviet unions.

This is the crest I like the most so far. The red colour and the stylized letter “C” makes this my favourite. I also like the connection to the Communist Party, which works well with my narrative!

CSKA

The Sports Clubs of the Armed Forces (called SKA) were initially formed by Officer’s clubs, but after World War II they were reformed into sports clubs for all ranks in the armed forces. They were supervised by the Sports Committee of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR and the sports committees of military districts and naval fleets, with each district and fleet having its own club. The most central of these clubs was called CSKA, and the largest/most famous CSKA is CSKA Moscow.

There are several things I like about the CSKA concept. Let’s start with the aesthetics.

I really like the red star, the symbol of the Soviet (and of course the Bordavian) army. It has been commonly used in SKA/CSKA club crests and is a symbol that can be both closely linked to communism and football. The star shape also offers a great template when creating a club crest.

I actually like this so much that I’ve decided to make my club into a CSKA club. It’s not all about looks, though. No, I stumbled upon something on Wikipedia that made my decision easy. It’s so fitting that it’s scary.

“The military sports clubs had an opportunity to enlist all top athletes of a country due to the mandatory conscription policies in force then”

Mandatory conscription policies, you say!? Forget about transfer fees, wage demands and unwilling club presidents. By creating the Central Sports Club of the Bordavian Army, I give myself the freedom to pretty much consider every Bordavian-born boy and man up for grabs!

Mandatory conscription around the world and in Bordavia

According to Wikipedia, conscription is defined as “the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service” and dates back to antiquity. As you see in the map above, several nations have since then moved away from enforced conscription, while a number of nations are still using it in different ways.

In nations still enforcing mandatory military service it usually means a service time in the military or another national service of 5-24 months. North Korea have taken things a couple of steps further though with the longest mandatory military service in the world, a staggering 11 (eleven!) years for male citizens.

Bordavia will take a middle road here. “A strong military is the backbone of a safe nation” as the famous Bordavian saying goes, but the fields and the mines cannot be without able workers for 11 years. No, let’s settle for three years as the length of the mandatory military service in Bordavia. But why am I going on about military service, you might ask!? Isn’t this about football? Well yes, but in this case the two are intertwined.

Taking control of the CSKA club of Bordavia gives me the option to use this to my advantage. I’m going to make this save series into a “youth only” save, but with a twist. A “youth only” save basically means that I can only use players coming through our own youth system, making the series focus on player development, which is my favourite aspect of Football Manager. But here’s the twist! Using the in-game editor I will be allowed to move any 18-year-old Bordavian player I wish from their current club to my CSKA club, to do their 3 year military service with us! This was common practice back in the Soviet Union and will of course be used here as well. This will naturally strengthen our team and also make us hated by all supporters of non-CSKA clubs! A clear win-win situation in other words!

With that, I leave you hanging. In the next episode our CSKA club will get a name and a visual profile, including badge and kits. Come along for the ride!

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