I know what you’re thinking. What’s so special about a “simple Barca rebuild” save? Well, nothing really. The latest mismanagement of the club in real life added to the usual appeal of managing a “big club” mean that “Barcelona rebuild” saves are ten a penny on FM21. And, as strange as it may seem, that was the whole point for me. With my mind already fully occupied with ideas for FM22 I wanted something simple for my Twitch streams. A save where I could buy and sell players of a pretty decent quality without restrictions. Build a good team, win some games and just have a bit of fun. Just a straight forward laid back no-brainer of a save. Well, that didn’t last long.
I had the best of intentions, I swear!
I really did try to just lean back and relax. I started up a Barcelona save with my casual rebuild intentions still intact. The Barcelona treasure chests were as empty on FM21 as in real life though. Ok, so the rebuild might take a little longer than planned then. No worries, just lean back again and chill! I tried to sell off a few of the most overpaid and underperforming members of the squad to raise enough money to buy someone cool. Didn’t work. Martin Braithwaite was the only one I managed to get rid off, but the £15 million pounds I got for him wasn’t even enough to get us out of the red, let alone buy any decent players. So I accepted my fate and started the season with what I had. A bunch of overpaid underperforming players, a couple of exciting youngsters, and Messi. Oh Messi, it would be too easy to blame you for what happened next. You were partly to blame, but mostly it was my own fault.
Old habits die hard
Ok, so maybe I’m coming off as a bit dramatic, but the one thing I had tried to avoid was all of a sudden my reality. If you know me or my content, this will come as no surprise to you (you might even claim that this was inevitable), but before I knew what had actually happened I looked at the clock and it was 2:30am. And I wasn’t comfortably leaned back in my computer chair, casually hitting the “continue” button. Far from it. I was sitting at the edge of my seat, with Football Manager on one screen and an Excel spreadsheet on the other. What started out as an innocent “I’m just gonna make a little spreadsheet of the current squad” quickly turned into intricate calculations of a “New Barca DNA”. Damn it. As minutes became hours a shape started to form from the elongated shadows of the night. A shape of a character as familiar as it was daunting. It was the monster I had tried to run from. The monster that keeps dragging me back to its lair. Over and over again. Hello, in depth youth development save. Hello, my sweet love. Apparently old habits die hard.
What happens now?
Well, if know me you’ve already figured out exactly what’s gonna happen. Whether you’re a viewer on YouTube and Twitch or a reader of the blog, I think you have quite a clear picture of the what this save is gonna be. But in the unlikely event that you’re new to this, let me give you an idea of what to expect.
This save will run until the release of FM22. I’ll play it on stream on Tue/Thu/Sat nights, but I’ll most likely play a bit offline as well. I play at such a slow pace that we’d get nowhere just playing on stream. I also plan to write the occasional blog post. The save itself will focus on the future, while flirting a bit with the past. The 2008-12 FC Barcelona era under Pep Guardiola will be the template in several ways. The ultimate aim of the save is to rebuild FC Barcelona (duh!), by that I mean to get them back on track as the best club in the world, both on and off the pitch. The attempt to replicate the glory days of 2008-12 will include this:
- A tiki-taka tactic – I never download tactics, because I enjoy the process of creating my own tactics way too much. However, this time around I’m gonna use a tactic that’s not my own creation. I’m gonna use Passion4FM’s Barcelona tiki-taka tactic, which is explained in excellent way here. Its sole purpose is to emulate the playing style of the above mentioned team and I’ll find great joy in trying to tame this beast to get the maximum results out of it.
- A “New Barca DNA” – A club culture/DNA linked to a player rating system that will help us find and develop players to fit the tiki-taka way of playing. Spreadsheets are a common element of the streams and it’s not impossible that one or two will show up here as well.
- A focus on youth/player development – Considering what this save is turning into; what’s more appropriate than spending countless hours on detailed youth development plans? I love to really spend time and energy in the process of turning a young talent – real player or newgen – into a world class player. With the “New Barca DNA” as the map, we’ll try to set the best course possible for our La Masia youngsters. From where they are now to the final destination as one of the starting players in the first team. Training, mentoring, playing time at different levels and more are all ingredients in this process. I could go on forever, but I won’t. Not now at least. I’ll most likely return to this and there’s a 100% likelihood that spreadsheets will be involved.
- Keeping Messi – I’ll try to rebuild Barcelona while keeping Messi at the club. A bit of consolation and an alternate reality for all the Barca fans out there who would rather gouge their eyes out than watch the greatest player of all time run around in a PSG shirt. Keeping him will be the easy part though. I must also keep him at the top of the club hierarchy throughout his entire career, both on and off the field. I feel like I owe it to him to find or create a role for him where he can use his amazing skill set week in and week out, even if he plays until he’s 52 years old. And after that, I will of course try to get him into the coaching staff.
- Finances in balance – A viable and realistic financial approach to this is a must. I won’t send the club into an abyss of financial dispair, I promise. Hell, I will probably need to start the save by digging them out of the hole their already in. This will be the last time the club finds itself in this kind of predicament. No more short term solutions, no more acting before thinking. No more buying Brazilian half decent players and then release them before they’ve played a minute of football. No more signing Griezmann and then selling him for a third of what he cost. Hmmm, well, hold on a second. I take that back… Griezmann might be the exception here. I can’t promise that I won’t release him on a free transfer just so that I can get rid of his massive wage and silly smirk. But I do promise you I won’t buy him again.
I think that’s about it for now. This might still sound like a “simple Barca rebuild” save to you, but it’s already far from that for me. I’m emotionally invested into this and I already love the save enough to think that it will actually keep me occupied all the way up until the FM22 release. This project is not aimed at winning a title or two. This project is a long term rebuild of the entire club of FC Barcelona, from the ground up. I’ll decide what pattern to mow the pitch in if I think it’ll help us. I’ll travel the world in search for the best towels to get the players dry as quickly as possible. I’ll spend countless hours explaining to Pedri why it’s important for him to slightly adjust his hip angle when turning to the left at full speed. I’ll let Messi treat me as his personal butler, no request is too far-fetched.
“You want me to polish your shoes, Lionel? Your wish is my command. I warn you though, don’t look directly at them, because I’ll make them shine so bright that it may hurt your eyes”
“You want me to stay through the night and practise freekicks with you? No worries, I’ll cancel family dinner. I’ll be your keeper or your wall or your ball fetcher. I’ll even be your ball if you ask me”
“You want me to get naked, Lionel? [WHOOSH – Clothes off] Sure, was that fast enough? No? I apologise, I’ll spank myself and then find a way to cut a few hundredths of a second for next time. I’ll even make a spreadsheet out of it!”
Does this still sound like a “simple Barca rebuild” save? If you’ve read this far I’m pretty certain you really don’t care. I don’t know if it was the spanking, the rambling or the level of insanity that I approach FM21 with, that kept your interest all the way until the end. Regardless, I thank you for your interest and welcome you on this journey with me. Let’s write a story together. A story called “The Legacy of La Masia”. I made that name up myself. Because I thought it was cool. And then I made a thumbnail. Don’t ask me how long it took. The devil is in the details.
Tot el camp
és un clam
som la gent blau-grana.
Tant se val d’on venim
si del sud o del nord
ara estem d’acord, estem d’acord,
una bandera ens agermana.
Blau-grana al vent
un crit valent
tenim un nom
el sap tothom:
Barça, Barça, Barça!
tots units fem força.
Són molts anys plens d’afanys,
són molts gols que hem cridat
i s’ha demostrat, s’ha demostrat,
que mai ningú no ens podrà tòrcer.
Blau-grana al vent
un crit valent
tenim un nom
el sap tothom:
Barça, Barça, Barça!