Football Manager 2019’s out soon. We know you don’t want to be that prick that starts off as Real Madrid, so we had a think about some hot takes that you can use for your first save.

Photo credit: Ronnie McDonald

The Sleeping giant

Fire up your desktop. Get her whirring. Load up the game, and it's time to ask yourself the question: reckon you're Nigel Clough’s spiritual successor? You know, do you think that you could a lift a club out of footballing folklore and return them to their rightful perch?

Go on, get stuck in. Try and return the Forest to European football after 22 years of hurt. Parma might be back in Serie A now but they’re still due a Scudetto. Saint Etienne as well. Remember them? They won ten Ligue 1 titles between 57’ and 81'. But they’ve only got a four star rating on FIFA. The real deal, this one is.  Kind of job that gets your name on the club scarves.

"You can't win anything with kids"

There’s nothing better than opening up the youth candidates on regen day and finding a steaming batch of fresh youngsters. Absolutely nothing. Letting yourself get carried away and making your homegrown central midfielder first team captain at 20. Why not. This is new wave football management, mate.

Fast forward 14 years and you're blubbing after hearing that he’s going to retire. You personally organise a bank-breaking testimonial to give him a proper send off, with all of his best pals invited. And then you realise that you can’t let him go. Before you know it he’s your assistant in the dugout and, although he’s shite, you can’t let go. Things have gone full circle.

This is what FM is all about. If you want to play the kids and build your team on raw potential, get yourself down to the likes of Ajax, Southampton and Benfica. Rumour is they’ve got the best facilities on the game. All in all this makes for a quality save, and is also a fairly decent substitute for having kids in real life.

Just a Small Town Girl

Yeah, you’ve won it all. Countless Champions Leagues and enough Premier League titles to make Fergie jealous. Bit boring, though.

Time to go back  to the grassroots. If you’re a bit vanilla, you could do Ajax. But if you’re going to do it properly, you need to go full Bear Grylls.

I’m talking about going to Budapest Honvéd, discovering this generation’s Ferenc Puskás and simultaneously guiding the Hungarian national team to a World Cup win. The Mighty Magyars couldn’t even do that in the 50’s, you know. Not interested? Take over FC Santa Claus in Finland with a self-imposed transfer policy of only signing Nordic players. Guide your team to the semi-finals of the Europa League and take them somewhere no Finnish club has ever been before.

By running riot through Europe, you’ll boost the league’s TV money and your domestic rivals might even be able to join you amongst Europe’s elite. You’ll lose a load of players, but just make sure to put an unreasonable sell on clause onto each player you sell and life will be alllllll good.

Pentagon Challenge

The Pentagon Challenge. A classic of the FM forum pages. Your mission: start off as an out of work Sunday League manager and gradually make your way around the world winning every continent’s Champions League. Yeah, let’s be honest, you’re a bit weird if you try this one.

Go on, get all continental. Just like Parma did in 95'.

Most start of in Africa, followed by Asia, North America, South America, and then Europe to win ol’ Big Ears. Personally,  I think it would be funnier if you won the Champions League with Real Madrid and then resigned to take charge of Botswana Meat Commision. Free country, though, isn't it.

I don’t know anyone who's actually done the Pentagon Challenge, but there's definitely going to be some geezer on SortitoutSI who will claim to have done it 2 weeks after the game's been released, and to have done it all under an assymetric 3-4-2-1.

Take Torquay up to the Barclays

How much do you love Torquay United? Take yourself down to Devon’s least favourite holiday destination and get your hands dirty in the Conference South. Your aim: guide the Gulls all the way to the top of the English footballing pyramid. How are you gonna do it? By introducing South Devon to a Guardiola-esque tiki-taka style of play that it's never seen before. Prove yourself. Bring the Champions League to its rightful home and parade it for days across the English Riviera.

Photo credit: Joshjdss

It’s probably going to take you 15 seasons, and 13 of them will be spent with a 6'4 Irish target man up front that you picked up on a free from Dundalk. A Club Legend, no less, he will become.

Forza Football Manager.

Title Image credit: Tsutomu Takasu