Managing West Ham 1
I start this save thinking of where I want to be come the end of the season. West Ham have struggled this year with some good wins and a lot of bad losses. They currently sit 14th in the Premier League after 32 games, and a top 10 finish is looking less likely each week. The move to the London Stadium has been a difficult transition from the Boleyn Ground, and Slaven Bilić has struggled since the 7th placed finish in his debut season. Taking that into account, and looking at a more than capable squad, a seventh placed finish or better is exactly what I want to be aiming for in my first season. Board expectations are mid-table, however a strong run in the Europa League is desired with a quarter final exit their minimum expectation; a run which might show weakness within the squad and cost us vital Premier League points due to fatigue. Looking at the Premier League table there are only seven teams who I would expect to finish above us; Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham. We might be as good as Everton with some key signings, but a seventh or eighth finish would be an ideal expectation for myself, if a good Europa League run can be managed. We have a squad very similar to Southampton, and both teams find themselves in the same circumstances. Matching them in the first season would be more than pleasing and exactly what we should be aiming to do. I want to immediately change some staff members to reflect this ambition and intent, something I do in every Football Manager save. This not only helps the team in the current season, but sets the club up well for the future.
Looking at the staff there’s not a lot that stands out. Our assistant manager Nikola Jurcevic has some pretty poor stats in terms of coaching. Our scouting team is poor and well below the average Premier League standards. We don’t have a director of football, which isn’t a problem for most teams, but if West Ham are looking to push on and become a force a director of football might be the perfect staff role the club need to attract some high-level coaches and world class scouts. The medical staff are also lacking, well below the average standard of the Premier League. The club also lacks a Head of Sports Science, a position which is having a bigger and bigger role in the modern game.
I will be pushing ahead for a new assistant manager and releasing several other members who I don’t believe are good enough at the club. I will list all outgoing staff members below.
Name: Club Role
Nikola Jurcevic: Assistant Manager
Terry Westley: Head of Youth Development
Miljenko Rak: Fitness Coach
Joshua Ewens: Fitness Coach
Julian Dicks: Coach
Tom Taylor: Coach
Edin Terzic: Coach
Emerson Thomé: Scout
George Cowie: Scout
Jack Lamb-Wilson: Data Analyst
Greg de Carnys: Data Analyst
Stijn Vandenbroucke: Head Physio
Adam Crossley: Sports Scientist
Jack Birch: Sports Scientist
Staff are very underestimated in Football Manager and can really be the difference in terms of helping your striker become more clinical in front of goal, helping with your defenders with positioning to stop a bad run of form or even help with player’s fitness near the end of a long season with many cup competitions.
When picking my staff members, I like to get ensure every aspect of training is covered. I like to pick an assistant manager with one high coaching attribute, typically Defending. This negates the need to have a coach with a high defending attribute, freeing up a staff member to specialise in another coaching attribute. I will then try and get coaches with one high attribute for every other attribute required; one for Attacking, one for Tactical, two for Technical, one Fitness coach and one Goalkeeping coach. The reason I try and get two technical coaches is that they will allow the club to be able to specialise in one aspect of technical training for each staff member; one for Ball Control and one for Shooting. This isn’t always possible due to a limit on coaches allowed by the club board, but it really does help with player development if you are able to get the extra staff member in. If coaching spaces are free after all these coaches are hired I will then hire additional Fitness or Goalkeeping coaches to help increase squad Fitness and Goalkeeping ability. It is even worth asking the board if more coaches can be hired just for these additional staff members as they can really make a difference through the course of the season.
Name: Club Role
Zsolt Löw: Assistant Manager (Defending: 16)
Fausto Salsano: Coach (Attacking 19)
Danny McGrain: Coach (Tactical 17)
Gianni Vio: Coach (Technical 18)
Paul Scholes: Coach (Technical 18)
John Harbin: Fitness Coach (Fitness 17)
When choosing a Director of Football, I try and get someone with as high a world reputation as possible. My main reason for this is that I find it usually helps hire staff members who would not normally want to join the club; this might be because it shows the ambition or because they worked with the Director of Football previously at a former club. When picking Scouts, I try and get coaches with high attributes for Judging Player Ability and Judging Player Potential. I filter the Scouts by attributes and start both those attributes at 20, slowly decreasing them until all my scout slots have been filled. When picking a Data analyst, I tend to try and hire those with high attributes in Adaptability and Determination. A data analyst’s job is to find out for their manager what went right or wrong in both wins and losses. It’s a highly challenging job and one which could be hard to motivate yourself to do when working for a club on a bad run of form. Adaptability helps the data analyst adapt to both situations of wins and losses to give you the best explanations for why things or going well or not so well as the case may be. A Head of Youth Development is an extremely important position in any club, and has a huge role in developing players from the academy. The two most important attributes for this role are Working with Youngsters and Judging Player Potential. These two attributes help the Head of Youth Development identify the players with the most potential, find their best attributes and help train them to reach their full potential.
Scouting Team incoming
Name: Club Role
Frank Arnesen: Director of Football
Phil Cannon: Head of Youth Development
Derek Langley: Scout
Ron Bone: Scout
Sinisa Adamov: Scout
Francesco Cutrò: Scout
Malcom Elias: Scout
Sergio Innocenti: Scout
Milan Sprecakovic: Scout
Raymond Mommens: Scout
Dieter Nüssing: Scout
Klaus-Dieter Kreft: Scout
Nol de Ruiter: Scout
David Moss: Scout
Vasaliki Pappa: Scout
Lothar Strehlau: Scout
When hiring Physios, I try and get those with high attributes in physiotherapy. Whilst this sounds obvious, many Football Manager players only hire staff based on their world reputation. These players don’t always have high attributes where they should, and often do not contribute for the team as much as lesser known staff members who are more specialised. For Sports Scientists, I try to look for those with attributes high in adaptability and physiotherapy. It’s the job of a Sports Scientist to get the best out of individual players, whether that’s keeping them fit, helping to avoid certain recurring injuries or helping players get fit in general, they need to be able to adapt depending on who they are treating.
Medical Team Incoming
Name: Club Role
Jochen De Coene: Head of Sports Science
Dave Galley: Head Physio
Bruno Baldo: Physio
Nick Worth: Physio
Uwe Vetter: Physio
Giorgio Bertolone: Sports Scientist
Sergio Jiménez Rubio: Sports Scientist
Following staff changes the club are in a much better position. We have the best Goalkeeping coaching in the Premier League, the second-best Defence coaching in the Premier League, the second-best Attack coaching in the Premier League, the fifth best Fitness coaching the Premier League, the third best Mental coaching in the Premier League, the second best Technical coaching in the Premier League, the second best Tactical coaching in the Premier League, and the fifth best Man Management in the Premier League. These sorts of stats really show the ambition of the club and ability of the staff who have now joined the squad; and this should reflect the position we’re aiming for in the Premier League and where we finish come the end of the season.
We have the second-best Judging Player Ability and Judging Player Potential stats in the Premier League, which should give us the cutting edge to sign great youth prospects as well as lesser known players who can really influence the team.
We also now have the best Physio team in the Premier League, giving us a great platform to keep players fit throughout the season, and deal with any injuries as quickly as possible.
In my opinion this is a highly successful staff change-up, and really gives us a platform to improve players and the club in the future.
I am pleased with my start at the club, and in my next post I would like to review squad depth and make some transfers before we get the season underway. I hope you will join me then and let me know if you have any ideas for the squad.
Thanks for reading,