The art of the Half-Space: The Gladbach System

Hello everyone and welcome to another FM17 project. This time the spotlight falls onto Borussia Mönchengladbach: a historic team for German Football, ‘Die Fohlen’ have enjoyed their most successful spell in the 70’s and are widely regarded as one of the best footballing institutions in Europe. Having developed players like Marko Reus, Andre-Ter-Stegen in modern times or Herbert Wimmer, Berti Vogts and Günter Netzer in the golden decade of 70-80′ that saw them win eight trophies and make a series of appearances in European finals, BMG’s legacy is tied to several pillars of traditional German football philosophy: youth development, coaching excellence and tactical innovation. Continue reading “The art of the Half-Space: The Gladbach System”

Rapid Chisinau – Home is where the heart is

So, it has come to this. Considering the timing, possibly my final long-term career in this year’s FM, after the Sparta & Artium saves have both reached a somewhat natural finish point. We managed to achieve complete domestic domination as well as reach the CL final with Sparta with a team full of academy products and we climbed our way out from the 6th tier of Italy all the way to a Europa League win with Artium, all done with Italian u21 signings only. Both incredibly enjoyable and challenging, both clubs created from scratch in their respected nations.

So, as a somewhat tangible pattern emerges, and as I quickly get bored with traditional FM saves, I’ve decided there’s only one thing I can do to motivate me enough to play FM17 anymore: a youth challenge in my home town – Chisinau, the capital city of Republic of Moldova. And yes, with a created club 🙂

Here it is in all its’ glory (view from the south city entrance, ‘Portile Orasului’)

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Chișinău – population 700,000

Population – 3,5 Million


The story is one that reflects the dire situation of Moldovan football since, well…. forever. We’ve barely had a team reach the CL or the Europa league groups in our entire history and football is practically non-existent in a competitive, healthy format. Much like any other branch of the sports & culture infrastructure, football is completely disregarded and underfunded by the government. The biggest two clubs are Zimbru Chisinau and Sheriff Tiraspol. The latter is based in Transnistria, a semi-autonomous region to the east of the country and quickly reached a dominant position domestically after investment from seriously questionable figures (*coughs* ex-KGB bosses living in Tiraspol *coughs*)

Their only goal is reaping off the few million Euros the club gets every year for making it to the CL playoffs and their club policy is, well… all about the money again. In the last 10 years, Sheriff have brought in at least a few hundred U16 Brazilians in the hope they can have a new Ronaldinho with a Moldovan passport. Their entire team is made of naturalised foreigners and they have no interest in developing local talent. As for where the Moldovan NT and local leagues stand… well…


It's a shite state of affairs to be in, Tommy,

With that in mind, here comes Dorin Ciobanu – failed professional Moldovan player (thanks to a corrupt system and a greedy f*** agent) invests all his personal savings in creating new club in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.  With the aim of running an honest, progressive football club and helping his home nation escape the obscurity of football, Dorin travels around Moldova for two months and convinces a few dozen local u21’s to join him in his revolutionary project (players added via the editor with max PA of 100).

From now on, only Moldovan talent and only via the academy. From now on, Avangardistii (the avant-gard’ers) are the only hope of Moldovan football.


With the help of some rich friends in Italy (his mom and dad), Dorin invests about 4 million Euros into the club’s youth & training facilities. The sum is added to the club’s debt and will be gradually repaid once the club is profitable. We’ve also managed to rent the republican stadium for 10k a year, which is nice, considering that stadium has only been used a few times in its’ history and a 13,000 capacity is the stuff dreams are made of. Poor pitch, poor conditions and corporate facilities, but hey… it’s Moldova.
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high quality seating at ‘The Republican’
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So here we are. We’re all set to re-dignify our small and not-so-proud nation. Well, being the poorest country in Europe and with an average wage of just under 200 quid a month, we can at least try to give them something to be happy about, at least in football.

The Mad Max: Space, Commitment & Creativity – Part One

Well, it’s been a while since my last foray into tactical experiments. After 18 seasons of twisting and turning my tactical approach with Sparta Bucharest, I’ve taken a little bit of a different route for the latest chapter. With less than a subtle reference to the title, I’ve taken inspiration from Maximilliano Allegri’s tactical revolution at Juventus this year. Continue reading “The Mad Max: Space, Commitment & Creativity – Part One”

Grassroots Tactics: Simplicity

Yet another guest post by Ö-zil to the Arsenal!, an SI forum member that has produced some excellent material on tactics and club strategy over the last year or so. His articles are top quality and I highly recommend taking a look at his previous stuff – Threads. Make sure you support him on  GoFundMe page – Football Manager Tactical Analysis for more excellent tactical analysis. Continue reading “Grassroots Tactics: Simplicity”

Sparta: 15 Years of Youth, Athleticism and Discipline

Hi everyone, this is a piece I wrote detailing the squad&club achievements at the end of our 15th season with Sparta Bucharest. It’s a detailed tribute to a Football Manager youth challenge that turned out to be much more than a simple FM career….

Continue reading “Sparta: 15 Years of Youth, Athleticism and Discipline”

The Fantasista: Luan in the Sky with Diamonds – Part Two

Before I go on any further, I want to clarify a few things as per the purpose of me writing these articles, given the nature of recent interactions with a few fellow FM-ers: my aim is to explore various tactical concepts, understand football as a game through FM as well as to encourage debate and thought around the above issues. I do not ‘present’ game-breaking tactics, and neither do I have to justify anything to anyone but my own morals. Please try to think of what I post in this perspective and I am open to any discussion that will reflect that. There… rant over 🙂 Continue reading “The Fantasista: Luan in the Sky with Diamonds – Part Two”