It was a pleasure, isn’t it? If you read the previous part of my Football Manager 2017 save with Reading you know I decided to end this journey at the end of the 2039/2040 season. As we started in 2016, this save lasted for 24 virtual years.
We started as an average Championship team and ended as the best club in the world.
The proper fairytale.
I’m sure I don’t need to go back and repeat the same words I wrote in the past in a couple of parts. When I finished the FM16 save with Akademisk Boldklub I thought about to not write about FM17 save.
It was mainly because I wanted to play with Reading just for a fun and share some things about the game on Twitter for example and write a post just only time from time. But as this save continued I enjoyed it more and more. Mainly thanks to the development of players like Danny Loader, Liam Kelly, Josh Barrett and more.
All of you who followed this save know there were a lot of great players and it same as was a joy to watch their development it was also very sad to see when they retired or when they decided to leave the club.
The last man from the original squad was Danny Loader. I don’t want to write other paragraphs about him as I wrote a single post about him but when he retired in 2038 I very quickly found out it’s time to end this save because it will not be the same.
If you ask me what was my TOP 5 moments of this save I will say these…
1. Promotion to the Premier League
We were very close to the promotion just in the first season. We finished 6th in the Championship but we lost to Cardiff in the Play-off Final after extra-time.
Reading won the promotion in the third season when we won the Championship with 112 points.
33 matches won in a season, Jake Cooper sets new league average rating record (7.77), Dominic Samuel became new best goalscorer in the club history with 72 league goals and of course, 112 points were the new Championship and club record.
2. Danny Loader
As I said above I don’t want to repeat everything what was written already. Danny became a first team regular in the first season in the Premier League. If I remember it right it was the fourth season of the save.
He was lucky Dominic Samuel (our striker number one) was injured and I decided to play Loader instead to send him to lower league for a loan spell.
And he delivered and became our first choice. The rest is history. He played the most matches and scored the most goals in the club history. I only don’t know why he was not more involved in the England national team as he played only about twenty matches.
3. Champions League
It was the fifth season I called “Dream season”. We overachieved straight in the first season in the Premier League and finished seventh in the league. The next season we won the Premier League. Just only two years after the promotion.
And we also secured our first Champions League Group Stage place for the 2021/2022 season. We started this season as Europa League finalist from the previous season as we lost to Real Madrid in the Final.
In 2022/2023 season we won our first Champions League. We played with Benfica in the Final and we won 1-0 after the extra-time thanks to a goal by Dean Castle. It was the first Champions League trophy and we won this competition 16 times from this year.
I think some people around the community hate me just because of this. Mainly in Football Manager Slack…
4. Tactical changes
This is one of the things which kept me interested in the save for a long time. Same as I set side challenges in the game like transfer policy or development I also want to try some new formations and I’m interested if the same players are able to play in a different system.
In this save we started with a 4-3-3 formation. This one we used for the first two and half years. It was slightly modified during this time but the main things remained in the same way.
A couple of months before promotion to the Premier League I decided to change formation to 4-3-1-2. This one was so good that I wrote two separate posts about it because I changed some things during five seasons and I decided to publish a post about both versions.
I also decided to drop back a player from Attacking Midfielder position to Defensive Midfielder with various roles so it resulted in a 4-1-3-2 formation.
We also played with 4-3-3 wide with a defensive midfielder and with flat central midfield trio as well.
And the last formation I used was my favourite one – 4-1-4-1. I didn’t write about this formation, I just only published some screens about it on Twitter and in FMSlack. As I used Wide Playmaker role in the FM16, this year I created 4-1-4-1 with wingers at both sides and after one season I changed the left winger to the wide midfielder.
I also experimented with Deep Lying Playmaker and Roaming Playmaker in DM slot but that was mainly because of formations we faced in different competitions. But the most important thing is this formation was and will be my favourite.
5. Consistency & development
We talk a lot about the way in this save. The philosophy was very easy from the start – just play with 10+ players from the original squad as long as it will be possible.
Finances were tight at the start of the save so I had to sell most paid players to balance the books. I’m sure I sold some players I would normally keep in the squad and I like their style in the real life but it had to be like this.
For more than 15 years I had almost the same squad, respectively the starting XI and our key players were mostly the same as players like Liam Kelly, Josh Barrett, Jake Cooper, Dominic Samuel, Luke Southwood developed in world class players. At least in my eyes of course…
If nothing more I’m sure this squad policy and philosophy helped to all these players to develop in perfect players despite nine from ten FM players would don’t trust to all of these players they are able to play Premier League regularly or they are able to win Champions League for more than ten consecutive years.
As you know I had a couple of seasons during them I bought many foreign players despite I knew they will not receive a work permit. It was a part of my way how to stay interested in a save and I made a solid profit from these players despite after some successful season I didn’t need money or sell players because of financial struggle.
It was only part of the game and I wanted to have a fun.
From a historical point of view, I’m used to playing mainly with domestic players. And it doesn’t matter if I manage the team from England, Serbia, Denmark, Bolivia… I like to play with players from that nation. And I decided to develop a squad mostly from my own newgens.
It was my last aim of this save. At the end of the 2039/2040 season, I had 29 players in the first team squad and 21 of them were from our own academy.
That’s all for this part of the Reading FC save in Football Manager 2017.
Thanks everyone for the continuing support and thanks for reading.
If you are interested in something from this save let me know there in the comments section, on Twitter or in my #mrkeysirensie channel in FMSlack.
You can also join us in FMSlack and talk not only about Football Manager. What is Slack? Read this or ask me and others on Twitter for example.