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Stan - The Football Manager 2017 Journey

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Never done a save like this before. From the dark depths of non-league (National League South) and trying to get my team up the pyramid in to the Football League.

Most saves have always been Leicester City and the closest I've come to something like this is Luton in League Two trying to get them back up in to the Championship or even further in to the Premier League. Safe to say I didn't last long with Luton!

This first post will be an overview of the squad - notable players, transfer budget, wage budget from the start of the game - June/July 2016.

Any tips on players/staff to sign for this level are greatly welcomed!

Transfer Budget - £0. :D 

Wage Budget - £6,500/w

Notable Players - Jamie Cureton, 40 years old! 


This is the tactic I will be trying out and it's worked in my Leicester save I've been playing since the game came out:

St. Albans City_  Overview.png

St. Albans City_  Overview-2.png


Media predictions for the Vanarama South:

Vanarama National League South_ Overview Stages-2.png


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Friendly - St Albans 1-1 Luton Town

An encouraging, yet fortuitous, draw at home to big boys of Luton Town.

Took an early lead through Jamie Cureton (think he'll be a handful for other teams in the league this season) but then faced an onslaught from Luton and my keeper played a blinder.

St. Albans v Luton_ Stats Match Stats.png

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Transfers (2 weeks in, 16/07/16)

Had to sign many players on frees and couple of loans from Wolves & Portsmouth. Squad was too small and the rate they play games in the non-league divisions meant bigger  squad, where possible, was required.

Matthew Aldred probably my best signing, so far. Vences Bola has good stats for finishing as a striker. Only had 5 defenders as well so had to sign more! 

St. Albans City_  Transfer History.png

Business is not done yet!


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Northwood 1-0 St Albans City - This time it was my turn to be on the unlucky side. They scored a breakaway goal on the counter after I had too many men forward for a corner. Then it was all Saints. Hit the woodwork twice, couple of other shots cleared off the line. Then I think my players just ran out of steam. Have to be more clinical!!]

Harlow 2-3 St Albans City - if  this game is anything to go by, there's gonna be lots of goals scored and conceded xD. It's all about pace in this league and 3 of the 5 were scored from balls over the top. Entertaining game and the winner came from my striker with a volley from the edge of the box. Love it. Aldred, the new boy, looking good. 

Harlow v St. Albans_ Analysis Post-Match.png

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St Albans City 0-1 Burton - Despite a defeat, proud of the side to restrict Burton to just the one goal. Considering the difference in quality and stature of the sides, we gave Burton a good go. One more friendly then we get in to the adventures of the new season with Stan at the helm of this fine club...

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Played a couple more friendlies before the season begins.

Aylesbury 1-3 St Albans - Again, a striker gets put through on goal for them and they go on to score. I went attacking though and then dominated. Easy victory in the end.

Biggleswade 0-2 St Albans - Good to get a clean sheet in the bag. Even after 6 friendlies, players match sharpness is a concern but I've got depth in my squad now so I think I'm ready for the season!




Priority is the league, for me. Hoping to get a good start and then the cup competitions are simply a lottery considering I could play relative bigger sides like Tranmere or Lincoln in the league above in the FA Trophy. 

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Game 1 - St Albans 4-1 Concord FC

Comfortable victory, never in doubt. Go 1 up. Concede shortly after. Encourage the team and the new signing Matthew Aldred scores 2 on debut. Hopefully he continues the way he's started. Obviously only one game but he's hit the ground running. Jamie Cureton, in all his experiences, missed an open goal right at the end xD 

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An indifferent start to the season. Kicked off with a couple of wins to begin with and then a bit of inconsistency creeping in.

The 2 losses coincided with Aldred being injured. Sadly, Jamie Cureton isn't playing much because my other striker, Louie Theophanus, is scoring regularly. However in the last game, he was absolutely terrible xD. Spurned many of the 15 chances I had to score. So maybe Cureton will start the next game against title favourites Whitehawk who are 14th. 

Table after 5 games...


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A lad in my year at school played for Hampton and Richmond when we were eighteen. He scored a brilliant free kick against Chelsea U21s with Ben Sahar, Jack Cork etc and made FM2008. You can tell the person who did the research for non league only watched that match because he had something like 14 for free kicks and the rest were all 2's xD. They always seem to be lurking around the top of that league.

If I remember rightly, Maidenhead have a bit of dough behind them too. 

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3 minutes ago, Aaroncpfc said:

A lad in my year at school played for Hampton and Richmond when we were eighteen. He scored a brilliant free kick against Chelsea U21s with Ben Sahar, Jack Cork etc and made FM2008. You can tell the person who did the research for non league only watched that match because he had something like 14 for free kicks and the rest were all 2's xD. They always seem to be lurking around the top of that league.

If I remember rightly, Maidenhead have a bit of dough behind them too. 

what's his name?! Is he still on the game do you know?

I've just seen that Kevin Lisbie is knocking around in this league too with Whitehawk xD 

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Having a poor time of it now, dropped away a bit from the play-off spots, 5 points from them now.

I hate losing games when it's been a competitive match, but I hate even more losing at home. Not being able to control teams irks me and heads seem to drop when we go a goal down which is disappointing. Hard group to motivate!

Got the FA Cup coming up in a couple of games. The mighty Wingate & Finchley xD. Hopefully get some confidence from that. 

St. Albans City_  Senior Fixtures.png

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The FA Cup run continues with a battling 3-1 victory over Concord FC. Twice I've beaten them this season now. League form needs to improve sharpish though!

I have Gosport who are in 20th at home so a good chance to get the confidence flowing and to find some form. 

I like this little touch though. Don't really see it in the saves with bigger teams.

Sunil Parmar_  Inbox.png

The other thing I love about non-league football is the regularity of games and not having to take a break for international games. On the flip-side, there was a few weeks in a row where I played Saturday & Monday.

The bad news is that one of my best players Matthew Aldred got injured in the cup game and is now out for 3 months :( 

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7 minutes ago, Aaroncpfc said:

What are your staff like Stan? Origami had a touch by signing a really good fitness coach at Concord Rangers which changed his teams fortunes drastically.

I have a fitness coach, physio, scouts and that's it. One of my players is also Assistant Manager too.

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Got sacked from St Albans. xD 

Didn't even get a chance of an ultimatum or target to reach before the board making a decision xD. Thought it was a bit harsh as I'd changed formation and started winning a few games.

Ah well.

Interviews for other teams going ahead now!

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  • The title was changed to Stan - Tranmere Rovers

So I've taken over at Tranmere Rovers now.

8th in the Vanarama National League. 

Objective is to make the play-offs. 

Just won my first game against Macclesfield. Have settled on a 4-3-3 narrow formation. 

As you can see, not too far off the play-offs after winning that game. 


Vanarama National League_ Overview Stages.png

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Just now, Cannabis said:

Mad that you've been deemed surplus to requirements at St. Albans but walked into Tranmere.


xD went for the interview and bigged myself up. denied all sense of failure with some of the answers I gave. 

Still think it was quite harsh that I've been sacked at St Albans. Would rather have carried on that adventure and challenge than be in a higher division with Tranmere.

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Hitting the closing stages of the season and still anyone's guess as to who's getting promoted or will make the play-offs...

Vanarama National League_ Overview Stages-3.png


I went on a 10-match unbeaten run to establish myself in that top part of the table but then lost to Wrexham. 

My final fixtures:

Tranmere Rovers_  Senior Fixtures-2.png

3 of them are bottom half and Maidstone are in 9th. 

Will definitely go right down to the wire!


Gateshead have to play Lincoln and Wrexham are to play Dag & Red. 


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Oh and I managed to seal free transfers for Dany N'Guessan and Marcus Tudgay who are definitely good enough for this level. Good  timing as well as my other main striker just got injured for 4-5 months with a broken foot!

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it's fucking tight here.

Vanarama National League_ Overview Stages-4.png

Lincoln have sewn up the title, incredibly with a game to spare despite how close it is. 

Maidstone vs Tranmere
Gateshead vs Bromley - probably a home win to seal their spot. GD is key if they lose though
Dag & Red vs Woking - big game because both teams still have a shout. an away win could be huge
Eastleigh vs Wrexham - home win please!
York vs Forest Green - anything but a home win please!
Barrow vs Dover - hard to call because Barrow in good form but Dover chasing the play-offs and have more to play for

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Made it! Just! Went 2-0 up against Maidstone in the first half. Conceded the lead and they had a free-kick which hit the bar in the final minute and final highlight of the game :o

York lost and Barrow drew!

I now face Wrexham in the play-offs. 
Dag & Red face Gateshead. The latter being the favourites for promotion now


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Second leg play-off semi-final

Wrexham 0-1 Tranmerre

Made it to the final!! What a time to keep a clean sheet xD

I will now play Gateshead in the final. 

They beat Dag & Red on penalties after it was 5-5 on aggregate!

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On 1st January, 2017, not only did it mark a new year for the club, but it also marked a new chapter in Stan's managerial career.

Tranmere Rovers at that point had just got rid of their previous manager after lying just outside of the play-off spots in the Vanarama National League and not having won in 5 games. That was clearly not enough so the Tranmere Rovers board wanted to find someone with real pedigree to succeed and someone who relished a challenge in getting Tranmere back in to the Football League. 

In came Stan to steady the ship and guide the The Rovers up the table. Financially, Tranmere are relatively okay compared to the rest of the league but Stan was also given the task to not overspend, keep the wages and overall finances low. After relieving a few less than useful players of their duties, a limited amount of funds were freed up and Tranmere, in desperate need of a left-back, signed Rob Taylor. An experienced left-wing back perfect for Stan's tactical plans.


It was a decent start to Stan's Tranmere life. 

Jan 2017.PNG

3 wins in the first 5 games and things were on the up. Fans had taken to the positive start by Stan and had a bright outlook for the 2nd half of the season. Stan was satisfied with how the squad was looking and settled on a 4-3-3 narrow formation. The 3 strikers were pivotal in Stan's desired method of playing - James Norwood, Jack Dunn & Cole Stockton providing the firepower. James Norwood was the main striker, in the Attacking Forward role. Either side of him would be a Defensive Forward to link up play with the midfield, and a Target Man should we need to resort to pumping long balls up in the air and go a bit more direct.

3 central midfielders were the engine room, the non-stop runners to carve open and/or block out the opposition. 

Things had begun to click as the month ended with a convincing victory over play-off hopeful rivals Barrow.


By now, the players at the club had really bought in to Stan's philosophy of playing attacking football and guiding themselves up and up to even challenge for the title. That perhaps proved a step too far, however, Tranmere had established themselves well in the play-off hunt. 

Feb March 2017.PNG

A 10-match unbeaten run even got Tranmere at the heady heights of 1st in the league after the game against North Ferriby United. Morale was high in the squad but perhaps the pressure got to the players with a 1-1 draw against Braintree. 

It was at this point Stan went searching for more firepower in the hope that experience and ability could help his side over the line. Stan went delving around deep in to the depths of the Football Manager database and sourced a pace merchant as well as a proven goalscorer. In came Dany N'Guessan (who Stan knows from his Leicester-supporting days) and Marcus Tudgay - a proven Football League striker. 

APRIL 2017

april 2017.PNG
The pressure certainly did tell as we had only won 2 of the last 7 matches, and it majorly hindered the promotion push. Although not dropping out of the play-offs, the 4-2 loss sent Tranmere down to 6th and it simply further emphasised just how tight the division was and even more so, just how precious 3 points are in each game. Losing the leads against Southport and Maidstone proved crucial. Despite the 2 draws, play-offs were confirmed and Tranmere finished in 4th spot.

MAY 2017

Vanarama National League_ Overview Past Positions.png

After rising from 7th to 4th since Stan came in, the players needed that extra bit of motivation and focus for the play-offs. Stan could sense complacency creeping in.

So Stan called a meeting with all the players - re-inforcing the required focus necessary and getting the morale to Very Good levels was very important to Stan. Players responded in the best way....

may 2017.PNG

After defeat to Wrexham earlier in the season, the players avenged that game and dispatched of the Welsh club almost too easily. A convincing home win and a comfortable away victory had meant Tranmere's players would be playing at Wembley once again. Ironically, the last time Tranmere had played at Wembley was in the 2000 League Cup Final - a match which Stan had attended himself and celebrated as Leicester ran out League Cup winners over the club he now manages. 

Sadly, for Tranmere, it was to be heartbreak again as a Gateshead extra-time goal saw victory for the Geordies and Tranmere's players could only sink to the hallowed turf of England's football home. After a roller-coaster of a match, both teams put on the greatest spectacle of football. Stan conceded that Gateshead were the better team on the day and as much battling and fighting Tranmere's players could do, Gateshead ran out winners. 

Stan remained buoyant and post-match, re-iterated his desire to take Tranmere in to the Football League. The foundations are there at Tranmere. Can Stan take them over the line in 2017/18?

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well in to pre-season now. nearing the start of 2017/18 season actually.

Happy with my transfer business. My keeper, Scott Davies, kicked up a fuss when I rejected a bid from a League One side and was adamant to leave. So I put him up for transfer and Bristol City came in with a bid over what the League One side were asking for. So win-win for all parties. I get the money, he gets his move. 

Used that money to sign some experience for that division - Theo Robinson, Roger Johnson and Owen Garvan, especially. Walters and Roberts are youngsters.

Sterry continues his loan from Newcastle and was up for Player of the Season last season. Not bad for a right-back! Robbie Patten is also on loan again for this coming season from Cardiff. 

Tranmere Rovers_  Transfer History.png

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  • The title was changed to Stan - The Football Manager 2017 Journey

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