The Pentagon Challenge
For my first blog-save, I’m going for something that I’ve never done before. The Pentagon Challenge is one of the most popular (and most difficult) challenges in Football Manager. The premise is that you start off unemployed with the lowest possible reputation (Sunday League). From those humble beginnings, your goal is to win all five of the club continental competitions. Those being: UEFA Champions League, CONCACAF Champions League, AFC Champions League, Copa Libertadores, and the CAF Champions League.
This is my database for the start of the save. Various countries from various continents, with all leagues loaded in each one. I chose not to load any of the major European leagues to start with, as that’s where pretty much all my FM experience is.
After getting the database all loaded (took forever, my CPU is getting outdated), I created my unemployed manager with Sunday League experience and went on holiday, choosing to apply to any jobs. As you might expect, I got plenty of mails laughing off my interest, or being slightly more polite and saying that I wasn’t getting the job. It didn’t take too long, however, before I got a positive response.
União da Madeira
I decided to take the interview, because A) It was a possible job, B) I’ve never managed in Portugal, and C) They’re one of the oldest clubs in the country. The interview breezed by, with neither the board nor myself being picky at all. So of course, a few days later, I was offered the job.
I went ahead and accepted the offer. The expectation of only a respectable finish and a media prediction of 8th seemed fairly reasonable. The squad was really hit and miss, being mostly either 4+ stars, or ~2 stars. Almost all of the wage budget was taken up, but I was hoping that I could move some deadwood and take advantage of the Portuguese second tier not having restrictions on how many loan players you can use.
Pretty good run of results for preseason, although Rapid was the only team that we wouldn’t easily beat and it showed. Fairly short preseason, but morale is high due to the big scorelines, and everyone is generally fit for the season.
These are the tactics I’m working with so far. (Excuse the out of position players, I just wanted to get the tactics and not shift people around just for screenshots). Our control tactic has worked quite well in preseason, dominating lesser teams (which is what it’s supposed to do). Our attacking tactic will have to be used sparingly, picking 3 AMs is really hard due to lack of squad depth. The counter tactic I haven’t worked with much and don’t really have any faith in.
Over the course of preseason, it was our AML and AMR who really came through and impressed me. Both had 7.3+ average ratings and had multiple goal matches.
Clearly not world class, but so far they seem quite good for this level. I’ll have to wait and see how I feel after the first few league matches.
As far as transfers go, there wasn’t much activity at all. Ended up spending a few grand to release GK Duarte, as his was completely awful and quite old. That freed up a little more wage budget and allowed me to bring in a few desperately needed bodies. Jean Felipe is a solid looking RB for this level, and has done a good job on defense and attack in the preseason. Ruan goes straight into being first choice GK, being miles ahead of who we had, even at just 19 years old. Renato was actually a find from my DoF who actually looked good, so I let the loan deal go through. He’ll be able to fight for a first team striker spot straight away. There might be another loan or two coming in, especially as we have almost no depth OR talent at CB.
Next time, I’ll be going over my first few months of competitive football in Portugal. The team looks pretty decent now, but not really playing anyone of the same level as us during preseason, I could be in for quite a shock.