God of War 1 – An Introduction

My first FM17 venture takes me across southeast Europe to the port city of Thessaloniki; the cultural capital and second largest city in Greece. Here I’ll be managing Aris Thessaloniki in the Football League (Second Division).

Club Assessment

As you’d expect Greece is still reeling from the 2007 Greek Depression and there is a great deal of debt throughout the country. Football institutions were hit by the crisis too with attendances plummeting, clubs struggling to cover wages with withering finances and in some cases, bankruptcy.

Aris are a club in £750,000 worth of debt. They have a decent but ageing squad with a large proportion of foreign imports and little strength in depth. There are a few bright gems in the squad however, including young goalkeeper Sokratis Dioudis. At just 23 he’s already an important homegrown player with potential to step up to the international stage.

Playing Style

I’m taking some inspiration from the Greek team that won the Euro’s in 2004, which you can read more about in my ‘How Greece Won Euro 2004‘ post.

Greek football is synonymous with a solid defensive structure, clean sheets, set pieces, good shape and organisation, and that’s what I want to base my tactics on predominantly. I’ll be sharing these tactics in a future post.

Plan B

When things aren’t going according to plan we’ll need a second option, a final roll of the dice. Since our primary tactic will be focused around set pieces with strong, tall strikers being the typical mould, our backup plan will involve pace and movement.

Plan B is Mason Bennett, on loan from Derby. With electric pace, fitness and agility he should be a real handful for a fatiguing defence and a great way to change the balance of a game.

Young striker Mason Bennett (pictured left) joins on loan from Derby County

Young striker Mason Bennett (pictured left) joins on loan from Derby County

Goals

With every save I like to plot out some initial goals, both short and long-term, to give me something to strive towards and focus on:

  1. Develop a traditional Greek style of football
  2. It’ll take time but we need to balance the books and rid the debt
  3. It’s imperative that we gain promotion as soon as possible, we need Superleague football to improve our stature, attendances and gate receipts
  4. Greece is a country that puts a high emphasis on developing homegrown talent. Match day squads must consist of two under 20’s, a maximum of 5 foreign players can be named in the starting 11 and a maximum of two non EU players are allowed at a club in the lower leagues. With these rules in mind it makes sense to sign and develop young Greek talent where possible and develop a unified squad of national players
  5. Gain promotion to the Superleague and push for European qualification
  6. Be competitive in both domestic and European competitions with a flourishing squad of homegrown talent
  7. Develop players for the Greek national side
  8. Become champions of the Greek Superleague

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