My second Football Manager 2011 saved game loaded, picking as many leagues as I have done before and was looking for an adventure with a side that needed a few promotions before the top tier of football greeted them. A fallen giant to make prosperous again, a team with history and tradition back in sunny England. I wanted a challenge without having to work too hard.
I opted for the terriers, Huddersfield Town. The first side to win the league three consecutive times and former home of one of the most innovative men not only in British football, but World football, Herbert Chapman.
In League One, Huddersfield have had an influx of a little cash in recent times equipping them with talented players in their ranks and have been pushing for play-off spaces for the last few seasons. This would give me a chance to take the West Yorkshire side up to the league and hopefully bring back the glory days of yesteryear.
Arriving in the small town I took a look at my squad, the board had given me just £800k to gain promotion. But with Football Manager I like to learn my sides over time, feeling my way through the game as opposed to spending hours squeezing that attribute numbers and sifting through sides for new players.
The players at the club were of a good pedigree. Gary Naysmith a man with huge amounts of experience and quality at the highest level. Just 31 he was younger then I thought. He looked a solid choice to command the full back position.
Peter Clarke another former Everton man who failed to make an impact as a top level footballer. But his strength and ability to command aerial threats makes him a solid League One player and probably be able to do a job at Championship level given good players around him.
Former Birmingham and Blackburn boy Damien Johnson added steel to the midfield on loan from fellow League One rival Plymouth he was going to prove a vital member of the team and my overall tactical philosophy from the beginning.
There was alot of young midfielders in the side Scott Armfield and Celtic loanee Graham Carey added energy, the latter with decent pace on the wing and able to put in a cross was going to prove useful.
Up top we had a classic target man, not so young Alan Lee who had arrived this season from Crystal Palace. Strong and good in the air it might be all but tempting to boot the ball down to him while he heads it on to his striking partner.
When Jay DeMerit was released by Watford I couldn’t wait to have a chance to bring him into one of my squads. One of my all time favourite Football Manager players the American international has the mental attributes of Einstein and another player able to command the aerial threat. Something I thought important in the middle at this level.
Jay had been in my FM2008 fantasy St Helens team that started without a squad and £80m to spend on buying a team able to compete in the Premier League (with a reputation equivalent to Derby) he helped us reach a European spot and I got quiet attached to him.
Journey man Michael Ball came in to compete with Gary Naysmith. Not much to choose between the two but he added depth to the side in the left back position.
One of the first weakness areas I sought to solve was at right back. I put alot of importance on having good supporting full backs and the former Liverpool trainee Lee Peltier was good enough for League One football but he wasn’t going to be a player to ensure us a promotion push. Scouts offered up Derek Gerey, hard working, strong and able to position himself well.
My prize signing of the transfer window came with Leo Aro 26 year old Brazilian striker didn’t have a brilliant CV unable to boast more then 4 goals in a season. But his attribute on paper made him perfect for a role I wanted at the club to ensure goals. Great anticipation, agility, dribbling and finishing he was going to be the fox in the box poacher.