Pro-tip: remember to back-up your work

Long story short, I’ve lost my save.

I could go into a long, drawn-out tale of woe, explaining how it wasn’t really my fault, but the bottom line is, I made an arse of it, and didn’t have a back-up copy to call upon.

So, what next? Well, I spoke with John, and this is the plan:

I bought a copy of the in-game editor, £3.99 from Steam, and attempted to tweak my profile and get it as close to what it was before. My old profile is here, and the new one is below.

The coaching and mentality numbers are back to what they were, but I can’t do much about the characteristic details, or the relationships bit. I’ve also lost the fact that I previously managed (and won the league with Vendée Herbiers Football, and with it go my career stats.

Once I’d got my profile updated, I started a new game, unemployed, and went on holiday for 4 years. On my return, I planned to use the editor and get myself the job at Nîmes Olympique.

But there was a hitch. They’d just been promoted to Ligue 1.

So, what I’ll now do is take over at one of the teams who have just been relegated from Ligue 1 into Ligue 2. My choices are ESTAC TroyesDijon FCO, or Angers FCO. Of the three, ESTAC Troyes look most like Nîmes, with a 3-star rating, secure finances, and a stadium which holds around 20,000.

And now we’re into season 4. As manager of ESTAC Troyes.

In some alternate universe, the Herbs got promoted and won a league title. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t seen the same success in this save.

The grass is always greener, isn’t it?

Leaving the Herbs was never the plan. Not really. Sure, this is a journeyman save, I should be changing teams, but the Herbs felt like home, and fleeing the nest for the first time is always traumatic.

There were very good reasons for leaving. The board wouldn’t send me on a coaching course, for a start. The aim of this challenge is to win the Champions League. I’m not going to beat John to that target if I don’t get better at this game, and quick.

They were also a really wee team. When I left, around a 3rd of the squad were still on part-time contracts. And wage restrictions being what they were, I couldn’t do anything about it.

And then there’s the stadium. 3000 capacity, with only 500 seating. Ligue 2 rules stipulate that teams need 5000 seats – I’m not even sure how we were allowed to play in that league – and the board showed no sign of wanting to improve our facilities. That meant that we were unable to capitalise on the successes we were seeing on the pitch. If we can’t get more and more people through the gate, our income suffers.

So, I had to leave. Obviously, I’d have preferred to jump up a league, but Nîmes Olympique are, by any measure, a bigger club.

All that said, this club is a mess, and I’m beginning to wonder if this was the right choice.

 

The season’s end

April and May conclude the season for the Herbs and we’re gunning for a promotion place into Ligue 1.

Right off the bat, we’re looking good. Unbeaten in April, with 3 wins and a draw, I’m confident that we can creep up the table and potentially look for back-to-back promotions. Soni and Derouard are on form, but the goals are coming from a few different sources now; those two, plus Chergui, Perradin, Tig, and Gbelle all combine to score 12 goals in 4 games.

But then we play the teams in 2nd and 3rd, and the wheels come off. 3 defeats in our final four games seal our fate. As part of an ironic consolation, the victory on the last day is against Créteil-Lusitanos, who beat us on day one.

In the end, we finish well off the pace. The top 3 were too good, especially eventual winners La Berrichonne de Châteauroux, who only lost once in their last 14 matches. We end up in 7th, 11 points from any hope of promotion.

Award season comes and goes, with Anthony Derouard making into the league’s season XI, as well as winning player of the year – or Star of the Season, as it seems to be called. He dedicates it to me, which is nice.

And then comes an email from the board.

You might remember from the season 2 round-up, that the Herbs’ stadium wasn’t up to scratch for our Ligue 2 status. Well, it’s still not, since the board are refusing to do anything with it.

Season 1 attendances were ~300 for each game. Season 2 attendances were always 3000. We were packing out the place, but they won’t budge. To be fair, that might be something to do with me blowing the wage budget, but that’s for them to worry about.

I start to contemplate another season with the glorious Herbs, and I wonder how far I can take this wee team – some of whose players are still on part-time contracts.

Around this time, Nîmes Olympique get in touch. They’ve got a stadium which holds over 18000 people, and I’m tempted. I’m really tempted. They’re a Ligue 1 team, too. 3-star reputation, Secure finances. And I bet they’ll let me go on a coaching course.

It doesn’t take long… Where do I sign?

And just like that, I wave goodbye to my legion of heroes – some of whom I might try and poach – and to those 3000 hardy souls who came to the Stade Massabielle every 2nd week to cheer on the mighty Herbs.

Oh, one last thing. Remember when I said Nimes were a Ligue 1 side? Well they’ve just been relegated to Ligue 2. Sad trombone, indeed.