Ian Football, Part 4: Accrington Stanley

I should have drunk more milk

The continuing misadventures of first-time manager Ian Football, leading hapless team Worcester City FC to their uncertain future in Football Manager 2012. Previous installments are here.

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later. Hell, I even knew that it was going to happen more often or not. That didn’t make it any less painful when, for the first time, my team lost. And lost hard.

Accrington Stanley? Who are they? Exactly.

Would it really be so bad if I quit right now?

This is, of course, part of the grand drama of football management. It’s more than a job. It’s a personal crusade to prove that I am a man of talent, intelligence and near-godhood. When my team loses – I lose. And I look like a mug, in the eyes of my players, my team’s fans, the media (or, at least, those elements of the media that give a toss about the semi-rural West Midlands county of Hereford & Worcester) and most of all, the unseen yet impossibly sinister Boardroom. The secret overlords of Worcester City, miserly masters of the team’s money and thus destiny. If they want me gone, then.. well, I’m gone.

5-2. To Accrington Stanley. It felt like being punched in the balls by a pygmy. I know, I know that Worcester are even more pygymy-esque of stature than Accrington, but I was on a high, convinced that I could turn things around for this team, off the back of a half-dozen successful friendlies. I could have dealt with a minor loss, but 5-2? That’s insulting. That gives me the fear.

Worst of all, things went so well in the first half. We got one in the net in the first ten minutes, they equalised a little later, then we headed off for our oranges with a comfortable, confident 2-1. I got cocky. I thought this semi-success was all about me, and not about my players. So I brought on a half-dozen subsitutes, noting that some of my men were looking a little knackered and deserved a break from their hard work. I, Ian Football, could make any players dance for me. Or so I believed.

We were barely back on the pitch before Accrington landed their second goal. The next two followed in a blur, while I made pathetic motions about assuming defensive tactics. The subs may have had fresher legs, but clearly they disrupted whatever flow the first-half squad had arranged. Or maybe Accrington had just been toying with me, and now claimed their vengeance.

I left the match with my tail between my legs, unsure what to do next. I looked at my inbox. Read the headlines. Ah yes, my pre-match interview with BBC Hereford & Worcester [out-of-character note: I, i.e. Alec, did work experience there years ago, oddly]. I’d forgotten about that. Seems I’d called into question Accrington manager John Coleman’s ability, and his reliance on delegating to his staff.

Christ, I wish I’d delegated more to my staff.

No budget left to spend. No-hopers on the squad. A no-hoper managing them. What to do?

Free player loans, of course.


  1. WMain00 says:

    Are you the blue guys or the red guys in that formation window?

    • Auspex says:

      Blue guys. (I think)

    • WMain00 says:

      I ask because if he’s the blue guys then it becomes a bit more apparent why he lost. Accrington’s formation is on of outright attack; they have a striker, three attacking midfielders, then two central midfielders. Their aim would probably be to overwhelm the opposition’s defence so as to get in as many goals as possible. Worcester City meanwhile are just playing a bog standard 4-4-2 that won’t have sufficient merit if Accrington look to overload the ball.

  2. El_MUERkO says:

    This is why I don’t play football manager. I couldn’t take the hit to my ego :(

  3. Skeletor68 says:

    Is there a way to see the assistant manager’s suggestion for the first XI? I’m finding it difficult to narrow down my team.

    • shaydeeadi says:

      On the top right you can get a team report and you can ask every member of your staff about who they would pick on the drop down next to that. Be careful though, because if their mental stats are poo they won’t make the best choices, and if you follow the blind while blind it may not end well.
      The best thing to do is read the tooltips when its simulating the game, where it spells out what the most important stats to look for in each posistion are. Once you get your head round the prime stats then you will scoff at whatever the Assistant says.

      I will say strive for players with high determination and you will do quite well, it means they will be less likely to fold when they go a goal down etc..

    • Vulpus says:

      You can always ask him to pick the team for you via the selection button in the tactics screen, it’s right next to philosophy and play style? Or you could access the Team Report screen in your team options, there you’ll get a sense of where some of your players excel compared to other players. Hope it helped

      Ninja’d :P

  4. McCool says:

    I think there is space for some sort of Skyrim “milk-drinker” joke for the people who are into that sort of thing. And all the best to them, really.

  5. Rinox says:

    Ah, the board. Possibly the biggest obstacle you’ll meet during your entire game.

  6. Ian says:

    I hope, Alec, you’ve done the ages-old recruitment tactic of looking for any old guy who’s ever played international football?

    Sort free agents by number of international caps, see which geezers will come and let the slow times roll.

  7. tigershuffle says:

    requires ….. foot the ball kickers having Twitter feeds to undermine you and of course dodgy owners and executives who are either banned from actually running anything more serious than a pub quiz or would fail the ‘right and proper persons’ tests to own a pet

    • shaydeeadi says:

      Heres hoping that stuff goes into 2013. I wish there was something to do with all the money you accrue in-game, I’d buy up a team to be chairman of while I managed a club and a country. It would take about 6 hours to do a week of game time though.

  8. shaydeeadi says:

    Great to see this series back up, but a question..
    If you have done 3 actual parts already and you still aren’t out of pre-season, how long will this opus be?

    • Baboonanza says:

      About as long as an actual football season. In other words, FOREVER!

  9. RakeShark says:

    I will say, as an American, it was exceedingly disturbing to see a kid plop down a basketball and talk about drinking milk to one day be on a professional soccer(football) team. The accent doesn’t even faze me after that.

    Actually, your older TV adverts are pretty strange as a whole.

    • RogB says:

      i can assure you it wont be a basketball, we didnt do that sort of thing in the 80’s.

      probably a very old foot/soccerball that was in the old ‘striped’ fashion, like this:
      link to soccerbible.com

  10. bluebottle says:

    My only real world experince of foot-to-ball was going to see Stanley play. An opposition player kicked the ball majestically into the stands, and managed to knock my cup of tea all over me.

    I’ve never been back.

  11. somnolentsurfer says:

    Surely, somewhere on the Internet, someone must have done an investigation into where those kids are now?

  12. nrvsNRG says:

    “John deserves credit for the work done at Accrington.”
    “I don’t believe the delagating approach taken by Coleman is the right one…”.

    changed your mind about john coleman half way thru the interview?
    (unless you think he deserves credit for making the choice to let someone else make the choices)

    • Rinox says:

      Not to give Ian Football’s media mind games too much credit, but this could very well be the consequence of the dastardly BBC Hereford & Worcester twisting and turning his friendly comments about the Accrington Stanley skipper!

  13. TheApologist says:

    Ian Football will be getting the full support of The Board before long.

  14. brulleks says:

    5-2?! You got lucky.

    In my world (of FIFA 2011) Accrington have won the Premier League for the last two seasons, plus every league they have ever taken part in. One year they won the bloody quadruple of the League, European Cup, FA Cup and League Cup.

    So 5-2 for Worcester is pretty damn good.

    (And no, I’m not an Accrington fan. I just love an underdog, and you can’t reach more of a canine nadir than the Accies)

  15. 0over0 says:

    Dear Ian Football,

    Just know that if this is the worst your football managing career has to throw at you, be very, very glad.

    A Fan

  16. liamster97 says:

    I actually like Accrington Stanley a lot more than national teams on football games as it gives a certain sense of pride seeing your Local Team Holding up in major cup matches and Reigning supreme above everyone else and I think they’re a great team so maybe next time Ian Football.

  17. Munkafaust says:

    Hmm I wanted to know more about Jim playing with pirates in Risen 2 and ended up here! Oh well, hooray for football!

  18. pertusaria says:

    Finally got a copy of this game after months of meaning to get round to it. I started unemployed as a Welsh semi-pro, then within days was offered a job with the Welsh U-19 squad. (Help!) Please write more of these!