1. The Ultimate World Football Manager Game – The Set Up Part 1
Saturday 26th December 2020 (in real life)
Boxing Day is arguably the most important day in the world sporting calendar. Traditionally and in a normal year it was the day when men would ‘escape’ after spending the previous day with family and loved ones. This year was different, the year we were advised to be ‘jolly careful’ by our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and it was the time where I only had one day to see my parents on Christmas Day.
My original plans for Boxing Day 2020 had been kyboshed by the tightening of restrictions just days before. My Dad though has a saying, ‘Preparation meeting opportunity’ Sat in my living room with just my laptop, a can of coke and some background Christmas telly, Boxing Day 2020 was the perfect day to start my epic footballing journey. The one I had been planning for the past three months…
Back in October and with a second lockdown in the UK looming I had an idea. Having relegated my Football manager fix from FM18 to Football Manager Mobile 2019 and 2020 over the past couple of years due to family reasons I was ready to make a comeback to the full fat FM. As a trial I downloaded a free version of FM20 from Epic in September 2020 and started messing around on it, starting random saves, but not really settling on one. Then the beta version of FM21 came out on the 14th November 2020 and so I downloaded this from Steam, loaded England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and started unemployed with not many badges or reputation. I ended up at Brechin City and then probably wished I hadn’t. Their club vision was to qualify for the Relegation Play Off in Scottish League 2. While I could not help but admire the pragmatism of the Brechin board, nor could I ever accuse them of being overambitious, which was in line with the pretty weak squad that I had inherited, the seeds of an idea started forming in my head.
What if I could download or create on the editor every league in the World and find a way of choosing any team at random and take them on, regardless of the country and their standing in the football world.
In other words, the ULTIMATE world journeyman save which could take me to any country in the world, manage any club, in any situation and in any league.
Collecting Every League In The World – November/December 2020 (in real life)
So where do you start in collecting the leagues from all the countries in the world on FM? The rule was that I must have a representation of every country in the FIFA World Rankings, plus any others which were available, such as Greenland, The North Mariana Islands and Kiribati for example. I would really have to find my inner Richard Osman here!
Football Manager already gives you 52 default nations, including all the major European and South American countries, you know the ones. However, there’s only one African nation, South Africa, only Australia in Oceania and Mexico is the only default representation in Central America and The Carribbean.
I did have a few things in my favour though. Firstly I have had previous experience and a working knowledge of the Pre Game Editor in creating new leagues, which I have used on previous versions. Secondly, despite having never travelled beyond Italy, my world geography is pretty good, although I did have to look up where on earth Mayotte was? Turns out it’s a beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, in case you didn’t know.
On 24th November 2020, the full version of FM21 was released. I was on the Steam Workshop every night hastily subscribing to any created league that appeared. I don’t know who you are but @Timo, you are the man! This guy must sit in his bedroom morning, noon and night churning out these extra league files and uploading them to Steam. Kiribati and Angola to The Cape Verde Islands and French Guiana @Timo (and a few others) cover the lot and in a matter of just weeks.
By mid-December my collection of editor files was getting close to the target of every league in the FIFA World Rankings. I was determined to get the lot. I also expanded some of the larger nations, for example the ubiquitous ‘England leagues down to Level 10’ file was included and Holland down to Level 8 (every square inch of this small country must have a football team) and some other major nations.
Just one week before Christmas I had downloaded most of them, except for a few outstanding countries dotted around the globe. Jamaica was an obvious missing country, El Salvador was another, while I nearly left out Kyrgyzstan because I nearly forgot this country even existed, let alone spell it! The missing countries were filled by my own basic FM editor skills which can just about join a few leagues together with promotion and relegation, along with a cup competition if available to a reasonable standard of realism.
By around the 21st Dec I was ready with all leagues sat squashed like sardines in my editor data folder on my laptop. After a couple of test runs, to make sure by loading every league in the world at the start of the game didn’t result in steam coming out of the side of my laptop; and that I wasn’t waiting two hours for the game to load, I was ready to go. Boris’ last minute change of rules meant I was game on for Boxing Day night to start the ultimate footballing journey.
The Aim Of The World Football Manager Challenge
The aim of this was to manage a team picked at random from any of the 200+ nations and leagues in the world. How was I to determine the country and the club that I would take over and become my first team on the save?
Boxing Day night and I switch on my laptop and load Football Manager 2021, select start new career game and load up all the leagues. I then made a cup of tea because this may take a while. In fact it took around 10-15 minutes to get to the screen below
In Part 2 I will explain how I chose completely at random the club which would become my first team to manage on The Ultimate World Football Manager Game!