Football Manager 2021 ‘The Pasty Men’ #1 – Men of the Marsh

After almost two months since my preview post of this save, I’m finally back. Christ. Thanks to the incredible work of The FMEditors Team, I can stop feigning my interest in short-term beta save ideas to pass the time and sink my teeth into the full-fat edition of Football Manager 2021. That’s right: the Level 10 database is out and – more importantly – The Pasty Men are here.

Meet at the Marsh

As soon as I received the call, I jumped straight into ‘Nobby’ – my 2002 Ford Fiesta – and drove the 2 miles west from my family home to Callington Community College and the adjacent Ginsters-sponsored Marshfield Park: my new home for the foreseeable future.

Since player-manager Sam Borthwick left The Pasty Men a couple of months ago, Callington Town had been in a bit of a slump. Desperation called as all boroughs of the Duchy trounced them weekly and it became time for chairman Shaun Earl to look for anyone who was willing to take the cursed reigns at Marshfield Park. ‘Anyone’, it seemed, includes 24-year-old Janners from across the bridge who have very minimal actual coaching qualifications but a half-decent history in management video games.

Upon stepping into the minimal home changing rooms at The Marsh, my soon-to-be assistant manager Jason Ramsay pulled me in for a gruff hug before introducing himself briskly. Jason handed me a dossier that looked as if it had been complied of notes scribbled down on the touchline during previous matches. “A bit of light reading before you meet the lads for pre-season on Saturday, ha! Once you’ve digested that – all the coaches are meeting down The Old Clink tonight for a couple of pints. We’ll properly initiate you!”

Despite all of the research I had to conduct into my future team, the anxieties I had about meeting the rest of the team lead to me putting down the dossier, chucking a jacket on and meeting Jason and the boys down the pub. Lo and behold, after a very messy evening, I woke up at home with a pounding head and a queasy feeling in my stomach. A cup of Smuggler’s Brew and a slice of toast later, I felt at least slightly ready to find out about my new squad. (If they are anything like my coaching staff, we’re in for a hell of a year…)

The Dossier

Tom Anderson – 21 – RM/CM

  • Former Forest Green Rovers youth player
  • Naturally a right-midfielder but plays best as a box-to-box midfielder
  • Amazing first touch, composure and stamina
  • A quiet lad who is currently studying marine biology at the University of Plymouth
  • Favourite TV show of all time: Top Gear
  • First-choice central midfielder

Jon Basford – 16 – AMR/WBR

  • Came through the Callington Town youth academy
  • Filling in as a backup right-winger while attending Callington Community College
  • Very quick and naturally fit
  • Enjoys going down The Fish Bar with his mates whenever he isn’t in the matchday squad
  • Lack of belief in his ability has lead to Jon considering packing in the amateur game and focusing on a different career

Jay Burke – 22 – DM/CM

  • Callington Town youth product and club captain
  • Used to come to games with his dad whenever The Pasty Men were playing at The Marsh
  • A rock at the centre of midfield, breaking up attacks and maintaining the heart of the squad
  • Works 4 days a week in the Callington Tesco stacking shelves
  • Once got very drunk at a sponsorship dinner and insulted Ginsters pasties in front of Ginsters CEO, Flor Healy

Dominic Claxton – 25 – CB

  • Only took up football this season in an attempt to make it into the pro game at the ripe age of 25
  • Half-decent centre-back but not someone who will be making the starting line-up every week
  • At 6’0″, his impressive 11 jumping reach should do a decent job at this level

As I turned the page to the next of the famed ‘Pasty Men’, my eyelids started to droop and my vision started to blur. Back to bed for a bit I think. I’ll check up on the rest of the squad later, I’m sure.

The Master Plan

Our journey to the big-time

Of course, the ideal plan is to eventually become a dominant force in world football, however the fact that it will take at least 10 promotions before Callington even reach the pinnacle of English football means that ‘the dream’ could be very far away. As I stated in my previous post, the initial aim is for The Pasty Men to find their feet as the most successful Cornish club. Truro City – currently in The Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South – are 4 promotions away. Luckily, the local press believe that Callington have a very high chance of finishing top of the South West Peninsula League Premier Division West this season. Hey – another 3 consecutive promotions after that and we could be facing The White Tigers one-on-one!

Initial Tactics

My usual fare when managing a team far lower down the football pyramid is to go for a late-1990s Manchester United-style counter-attacking 4-4-2, however I wanted to try and be more adaptive to the limitations of Callington and play to the strengths of the players already at the club (in addition to the new arrivals). Although we were to play a 4-2-3-1 instead of a 4-4-2, the aim was still to counter-attack and hit the opponent quickly on the break with some aggressive counter-pressing and fast movement. Against the likes of 42 year-old pub landlords playing Sunday league, the might of my frontline should run rampant.

Pre-season went fairly successfully: creditable draws against decent local teams such as Plymouth Parkway and Weymouth were real highlights while we slowly learned how to keep clean sheets towards the end of August.

To add to the good news, the board agreed to fund a coaching course for me to attend whenever I’m not teaching in my day job or coaching The Pasty Men, making me potentially one of the best coaches in the South West Peninsula Premier Division West…

Next time in ‘The Pasty Men’, we take on our local rivals Launceston in the opening match of the South West Peninsula Premier Division West; face Snodland town in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase; and we see how far we can take The Pasty Men in this first half of the season.

As always, thanks for sticking by and giving this a read.

P.S. If you’d read my prelude you may have noticed a slightly different logo for Callington Town! I decided to give the club crest a fresh, modern re-brand to make the quality-of-life while playing the game that little bit better. It will be a lot nicer seeing the clean lines of my new logo 20 seasons into the game!

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