On July 1, 2013, SB Nation United FC was born. With the help of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, the SB Nation Soccer staff purchased and took over a Skrill Premier side and rebranded them, all with the goal of creating the greatest football club to ever walk the earth ... at least on Football Manager 2014.
In the tradition of SB Nation's Breaking Madden series, I thought that it might be fun for us here at SB Nation Soccer to do something similar with Football Manager, easily one of the most popular games in the world connected to our sport. Rather than take EA's FIFA series and "copy" the Breaking Madden idea, we wanted to do something different and raise a club from a low division to the highest heights of international club football.
Of course rather than do it through blood, sweat and tears -- the traditional FM way -- we decided to use the editor program provided by the game's creator and cheat. We've picked a club, re-built their finances and staff to create what should be a juggernaut. In this ongoing series, we'll chronicle the process and give you updates of the team's progress as we attempt to reach the Premier League and win the Champions League over and over again.
Just because it's always important to say, the following is pure fiction and is meant to be entertaining, absurd and fun. Please don't take this too seriously, but by all means, feel free to mock our tactics, transfers and results to your heart's content.
The Birth of SBN United FC
While the inner workings of the deal had been going on for months, the public was finally introduced to SBN United FC on July 1, 2013. With the help of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, SB Nation Soccer purchased Cambridge United of the Skrill Premier League, the fifth level of English football. The team's front office was overhauled with the all knowing Campfire Bot installed as the team's Chairman and Graham MacAree hired as Director of Football.
While the home offices, training and youth facilities remained in Cambridge, the team's matches will now be played at the Olympic Stadium in London after Slim's lawyers swooped in and worked out an exclusive use deal with the local government that absolved them of any cost involved with the updating and operation of the stadium.
Basically, SBNFC purchased a stadium and a permanent rivalry with West Ham.
The coaching staff was also overhauled with Zach Woosley installed as the team's head coach and Kevin McCauley as the assistant manager. Other SB Nation Soccer regulars were brought in as well, including Callum Hamilton (Chief Scout), Ryan Rosenblatt (Head of Youth Development), Kirsten Schlewitz (Head Physio), Jack Sargeant (U-21 Head Coach), Andi Thomas (U-18 Head Coach) and Jeremiah Oshan (U-18 Coach).
While many were stunned by the hiring of this seemingly inexperienced team to run the club and the football world laughed, few realized the extensive knowledge and coaching genius that SBNFC had assembled.
In addition the team's finances were buoyed by a massive injection of funds that immediately made SBNFC one of the world's richest clubs with an absurd transfer war chest at the staff's disposal.
The team was also given a new nickname and logo...
THE MUSTACHED GENTLEMEN!!
The 2013/14 Offseason
The first task faced by the SBNFC staff was to evaluate the roster and sign the players they would need to help the club make a quick rise out of the Skrill Premier. Woosley decided to go with a 4-1-3-2 formation that relies on solid wing play and a false nine/complete forward pairing up top. With that in mind, the staff went out and bolstered the roster at the winger and forward position.
Aaron Wildig was brought in for a club record transfer fee from Shrewbury along with Daniel Emerton to compete for the right wing spot. Youngster Harrison Dunk was handed the left wing role with Junior Brown signed from Northampton to provide some depth.
Up front, 20-year-old Jacob Blyth was signed from Leicester to play along side either 17-year-old prospect Jack Cook or Matt Elliot.
The central defense was bolstered by the signings of Sam Hird, Marcus Holness and Yado Mambo. With on-loan goalkeeper Chris Maxwell not interested in signing a deal with the club, 27-year-old American Dominic Cervi was brought in with an eye on making him the starter before too long.
Considering the rather difficult schedule ahead of SBNFC in the preseason, Coach Woosley wasn't too interested in results and had his staff focus on fitness and tactics training to ensure the team was ready come kickoff the season. As expected, the team went 0-5-1, including one rather embarrassing defeat at the hands of Toronto FC.
Seriously? Toronto FC? They suck. Of course, SBN United FC is a Skrill Premier side, and if an MLS team doesn't beat a fifth division English side that's in their preseason, they've got some serious problems.
The final result of the preseason, a 1-0 loss against Toulouse, was an encouraging result despite the lack of goals. The defense was coming along nicely, and it stands to reason that come the regular season, The Mustached Gentlemen should be more than capable of shutting down whatever the Skrill Premier could throw at it.
We'll be back next week with a look at the first four months of the season, including a wild transfer deadline day. From there you'll be able to enjoy weekly updates on the Mustached Gentlemen, with each covering roughly a month of game time.
So enjoy the ride, comment, offer your suggestions and lets all watch the rise of the world's greatest football club!