As I sit here, an emotional wreck after England have just progressed to their first World Cup Semi-Final since 1990, I decided that I would pen my final #FM18 save and explain how I play the game, season after season.
Villarreal are a team that I’ve followed for the the last 10 years. A trip to Barcelona where the Camp Nou residents played against a plucky team in yellow piqued my interest and the love affair began. I normally squeeze a save in every year with The Yellow Submarine, but it’s normally much earlier than this!
So what is The Villarreal Project?
In May 1997, Fernando Roig became President of Villarreal & assured supporters that Villarreal would become a top club, not just in Spain but in Europe. He told them that their club would play in an ultramodern stadium, that their team would include world class players, that they would have a football complex and Cantera that would produce stars of the future & the club would have 20,000 season ticket holders… these assurances were made at a time where Villarreal had been finishing in the lower half of Segunda B.
The Villarreal you know today were born of The Villarreal Project & Roig’s master plan is said to include 10 ingredients to success, I’ll now go on to list those ingredients and add what I plan to do in #FM18 to build on the project:
1. Quality of Leadership
An efficient, determined and loyal group that are powerful enough to deliver it’s aims without internal opposition.
#FM18 – I’ll try and keep my staff recruiting in line with club Director, & son of President Roig, Fernando Roig Nogueroles. He is renowned for having high standards for employment of staff and has often refused to fill a post rather than take on someone not up to his and the club’s standards. So, with that in mind, it’s the best of the best when they are available.
2. Financial Strategy
Roig kick started TVP with his own money, but nowadays the club is fully sustainable without external investment.
#FM18 – A part of the game that I love, Villarreal are a small fish in a big pond in the European game so financial responsibility will be key, the focus will be on player wages, signing on fees, clauses etc.
3. Political Strategy
Generating a global network that will help support the club financially and otherwise.
#FM18 – Aside from affiliations, my networking will be linked to my transfer policy. My aim will be to use certain clubs to help me grow the stature of a player & hopefully turn him in to a profitable asset.
4. Manager Profile
Developing a profile of the right kind of manager who can deliver the exact kind of attractive successful football the leadership want from their club and then recruiting to match that profile.
#FM18 – The man, the myth, the legend… my manager profile is none other than Marcos Senna. He was a key player during the rise of Villarreal & worked under ‘THE’ manager, Manuel Pellegrini. I’ll use the in-game philosophies to keep me in line with the project’s objectives.
5. Player Recruitment
A player recruitment strategy that is geared to produce a more talented squad of players at the start of every new season than the one at the start of the previous season linked to a buy cheap, sell high strategy to generate sufficient income for the recruitment strategy to be self-funding.
#FM18 – Easy, right? Creating a sustainable transfer model is great fun & in itself creates its own challenges. I’ll be starting the conveyor belt of talent as soon as I get started, it takes a few seasons for it really start working but building it is great fun.
6. The Football Complex
To develop a football complex as good, if not better than can be found anywhere in the world. From the base of that complex will come the Cantera that will eventually ensure a regular supply of quality footballers for the first team of the club.
#FM18 – I’ll spend as much as the club will allow me to on developing the facilities & I’ll promote as many youth prospects as I can.
7. The Stadium
To create a modern stadium geared to the capacity of the community and fill and equip it for European competition at the highest level.
#FM18 – The above ingredient has been worked on since 1997, the ground has had many makeovers and in its current state looks fantastic with a mix of modern and classic features, but a 25,000 capacity really holds you back financially. It took me around 10 years in previous saves before the board would build a new stadium…
8. European Success
The best way to hone the club’s competence and reputation is to be consistently successful in European competition. Every European competition is important.
#FM18 – As above, treat every European game as important and maximise the opportunity to progress. I’m starting in season 2018/19 after Villarreal finished 6th so we’ll be attacking the Europa League next season.
9. Community Ownership
A community ownership strategy within the community to ensure the club belongs to the fans & not any individual.
#FM18 – Not much I can do with this ingredient, I don’t get to decide who takes over the club, but I’m thinking about taking notice of the social media a bit more and potentially letting it influence me in certain decision making, more on that later should it happen.
10. First Love
A campaign that involves a sophisticated campaign to replace a fan’s Big Club/Small Club dual love with an unambiguous first love for Villarreal.
#FM18 – Again, a difficult one to implement in Football Manager, I will obviously attempt to meet all expectations & hopefully with a successful transfer strategy we can recruit players that become fan favourites.
So that’s The Villarreal Project and the guidelines I hope to play with, I’ll aim to update these as we go on, but for spoilers and teasers keep an eye on my Twitter feed @FridayNightFM.