FM22: Managing Newcastle United on Football Manager (Part 54)

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We asked Iain Macintosh to manage Newcastle United on Football Manager 2022 and it was going really well for a while and then he crashed out of all the cups. But he seems okay now. Energized. Ready for action. Let’s see how long that lasts.

Episode 1 (with links to Episodes 1-10)
Episode 11 (with links to Episodes 11-20)
Episode 21 (with links to Episodes 21-30)
Episode 31 (with links to Episodes 31-40)
Episode 41 (with links to Episodes 41-50)
Episode 51
Episode 52
Episode 53


“Well, Bouldy,” I say as I pour the tea, “that’s the end of another exciting transfer window.”

“I wonder if we’ll ever have a quiet one,” he muses.

“Not bloody likely,” I laugh. “I never stop looking for ways to improve this team.”

“And rightly so,” says Bouldy. “But I will miss some of the lads who have left. They all played their part over the last three years. Aside from Wilfried Zaha, of course. He was crap. ”

“Yeah,” I say. “But you can not win them all and at least we got £ 2.5m from Rangers and cleared £ 100,000 a week from the wage budget.”

“That was not the only decent little deal,” he says. “Wolves coughed up £ 4.3m for Ben Gibson and £ 1.1m for Shaun Mavididi, that was some tidy business.”

“Well, that will make up for Sven Botman,” I say as I lean forward to take a sip of tea. “But he was in the final year of his contract, so I guess we have to be thankful we got £ 11.25m for him. I wish it had worked out for the boy, but it turned out that he just wasn’t very good at football. “

“Borna Sosa was very good at football,” says Bouldy, as he opens a pack of Hobnobs. “It’s just a shame that he was such a whiney little pain in our ass.”

“I’ve got no time for whiners,” I say. “I told Amanda that last week when I was up there complaining about the transfer budget. Sosa was good, but I’ll take the .5 13.5m and let Aston Villa deal with him. I think we could have got more, but he was poisoning the dressing room, so best to move him on. ”

“I think I’ll miss Sergino Dest the most,” says Bouldy. “And I know the boys in the physio room are really cut up about it. He was their frequent flier. But times change, he never quite became the player we thought he would be. We got three decent years out of him and selling him for £ 40m to Shakhtar means a £ 5m profit on him. ”

“And a £ 17m profit on Noussair Mazraoui too. But that did leave us a little short on full-backs. And now we had some money to spend… ”

“Joao Cancelo might only have two or three seasons at the top left in him, but he’s a classy player and he can cover the left and the right of defense. For £ 28m, that’s decent value. ”

“Wilfried Singo might just be the right-back that Dest was not. He’s rapid, he’s determined and he just loves to get forward whenever possible. I think the fans are going to love him and I think £ 32m is quite the bargain. ”

“This is the one they’re really going to love though. Nicolo Barella, the ultimate midfielder. He cost £ 89m, but he can do anything, he can play anywhere, he can run all day and he’s in the prime of his career. Don’t get me wrong, Bouldy, I still love Sean Longstaff, but this guy is going to win us trophies. ”

“And just in case he gets injured, we’ve splashed £ 40m on Ivan Ilic, another excellent all rounder with no real weak spots. He’s a Serbian international and I think we can improve him here. “

“After that, it was just a case of filling in the gaps. And for just £ 6m, Ainsley Maitland-Niles can fill a lot of gaps. I was a bit perturbed to only discover at the press conference that he has a rolling feud with Kieran Tierney, but they’ll both have to grow up and move on. ”

“Jarrad Branthwaite might be a walking red card, but I think he can develop here and at £ 7m, he’s a good option as a fourth choice center-back. I really did not fancy trying to get through the season with only three options, so this makes more sense that it seems initially. ”

“And finally, with Fraser Forster retiring, we needed a third goalkeeper, so here’s someone as solid as a rock. It’s £ 1.6m Alex Smithies who will almost certainly never play a game unless Ugurcan Cakir gets injured. But if Ugurcan Cakir gets injured we’re all in trouble.

Bouldy looks satisfied. He nods warmly.

“And that’s a solid looking 25 man squad, Iain. Cover in every department. Eight Englishman and a Scotsman, so we’ll hit the UEFA regulations nicely too. ”

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INS

Nicolo Barella – Inter (£ 89m)

Ivan Ilic – Inter (£ 40m)

Wilfried Singo – Benfica (£ 32m)

Joao Cancelo – Manchester City (£ 28m)

Jarrad Branthwaite – Everton (£ 7.5m)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Atalanta (£ 6m)

Alex Smithies – Cardiff (£ 1.2m)

TOTAL – £ 199m

OUTS

Sergino Dest – Shakhtar (£ 40m)

Noussair Mazraoui – Benfica (£ 40m)

Borna Sosa – Aston Villa (£ 13.5m)

Sven Botman – Olympiacos (£ 11.25m)

Ben Gibson – Wolves (£ 4.3m)

Wilfried Zaha – Rangers (£ 2.5m)

Shaun Mavididi – Wolves (£ 1.1m)

TOTAL – £ 110m

“And let’s just take a moment to enjoy the new tactics,” I say, walking over to the whiteboard. “We’re going versatile this year and we have the players to do it. Two almost identical plans, one tilted to the left, one to the right. So if we find ourselves bogged down we can just shift the focus quickly without forcing the players to do something mad like go geggidy geggidy geggidy. There’s some nice combinations in there of attacking wing backs and inverted wingers, there’s Jools Weigl as a deep-lying playmaker with a license to push up, there’s a more attacking role for the striker and a higher tempo everywhere. And, to see out narrow victories, we’ll stick with the Throttle Back plan that saw us secure fourth spot on the last day of the season. ”

Fast forward to the eve of the season and the signs are promising. The new tactics lead us to friendly victories over Celtic, Rangers, Leicester, Leeds and the South Shields side that I am talent-doping all the way into the Football League by loaning them my best youngsters. We travel to Southampton for our first match of the season and, in a departure from the norm… .I’m actually feeling quite good about this season.

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Want more on FM from Iain and his team? Why not check out his podcast – The Football Manager Show sponsored by Livescore – free on Apple, Spotify and all the usual podcast platforms, and of course ad-free on The Athletic.

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