#1 – The Kids from Montbéliard

Here we are finally! Welcome to my blogging debut, welcome to ‘The kids from Montbéliard’. I wanted to start this blog about Football Manager with the release of the latest edition, but I somehow couldn’t settle on a savegame. It was the first time in almost twenty years of playing the footy manager that I couldn’t enjoy the game from the start. While I was struggling to find an enjoyable savegame, Football Manager blogs were popping up everywhere! Maybe I tried too hard?

I think I did. Around Christmas, I decided enough was enough and took a step back from the game. I’m glad I did because, after two weeks, ideas started to take over my mind. I knew I wanted to do something with youth development in this year’s iteration. I kept coming back to Dutch side AZ Alkmaar because of their youth, but I’ve been to Holland on too many occasions in Football Manager. Secondly, I saw someone already blogging about them in FM20, which is a no-go for me. 

When FM19 was just around the corner, I started a new save in FM18 managing FC Sochaux-Montbéliard. I had read about their youth academy, which motivated me to start a youth-only save with them. I made it to the Ligue 1 in the first season and played four seasons at the highest level, having a lot of fun developing players. I ditched that savegame when FM19 was released. So, I have some unfinished business in Montbéliard, France. 

I have to be honest and admit that I’m not enjoying to read these type of posts myself. Especially if they’re too long, and keep writing about which trophies the club won in their history. I do, however, understand that its the perfect way to get into writing the series. Therefore, I try to keep things short and focus on what my aims for the series are. Let me talk you through the club for a little bit.

FC Sochaux-Montbéliard & academy

The club has a rich history. Every club I pick in Football Manager has to have a background story, and FCSM certainly has. Jean-Pierre Peugeot created the club in 1928 for his workers to play in their free time. Peugeot admitted paying their players in 1929, which was strictly forbidden because there were no professional clubs around at the time. A year later in 1930, the first professional league statute was drawn up, Sochaux was amongst the founding fathers of French football as we know it today.

The Lions Cubs have won the Ligue 1 twice, in 1935 and 1938. They’ve also won the Coupe de France on two occasions, in 1937 and 2007, and they’ve lifted the Coupe de la Ligue as well, in 2004. Sochaux spent 66 seasons at the highest level in France, which makes them second behind Marseille in terms of top-flight appearances.

The Yellow and Blues are known for its youth academy, consistently developing local talent and scouring the world for the best young prospects. The Sochaux academy is regarded as one of the top-10 academies in all of France. The most successful team in the academy is the under-19 team, which has won the Coupe Gambardella twice, in 1973 and 2007. They were also runner-up in 2010. 

The academy has produced several notable talents, such as Yannick Stopyra, El-Hadji Diouf, Jérémy Ménez, Bernard Genghini, Benoît Pedretti, Ivan Perišić, Jérémy Mathieu and Miranda, among others. The club has a proud track record of blooding its academy starlets into the first-team competition. Which raises a question;  why is academy success not being translated into silverware at senior level?

FCSM suffered relegation to Ligue 2 yet again in the 2013-2014 season and have been unable to return to Ligue 1. Recent seasons have also been marred by disputes and controversy regarding the club’s ownership, with Peugeot selling the club they founded to Hong Kong-based company Ledus in 2015.

FC Sochaux in Football Manager

FC Sochaux-Montbéliard’s trophies won and league history.

The club has quite some trophies in their cabinet, as you can see. I’m hoping to expand over the years, but that’s not my main objective for this savegame. More on that later. Sochaux spent quite some time in the top tier before their relegation in 2014. After relegation, they became a mid-table team in Ligue 2. I’m looking to gain promotion to Ligue 1 within three years. 

FCSM plays their matches in the Stade Auguste Bonal which has a capacity of a little under 20.000. It was built in 1931, rebuilt in 2000, and features undersoil heating. The condition of the stadium is considered ‘good’, and it has a grass surface which is in good condition as well. Sochaux rents the stadium, paying €366k per year. 

Stade Auguste Bonal in Montbéliard, France.

Other facilities of the club are as follows:

  • Good corporate facilities
  • Great training facilities
  • Poor data analyst facilities
  • Excellent youth facilities
  • Good academy coaching
  • Adequate recruitment

We definitely have something to work with here. The facilities are great, but the board wants us to develop players using the youth system. Therefore, we want to improve our recruitment and academy coaching as soon as possible. 

Sochaux is financially secure, having 3.7 million Euros in the bank. The board have made €300k available for transfers, which I won’t use as I’m planning to do a youth-only. There’s no room in our wage budget which sits at €300k per month. Fortunately, the club has no debts.

The club vision looks like this:

  • Develop players using the youth academy
  • Work within wage budget

Current season:

  • Ligue 2: Mid-table finish
  • Develop Ligue 2’s best youth system

2020/21 season:

  • Ligue 2: Top-half finish
  • Develop Ligue 2’s best youth system

2021/22 season:

  • Ligue 2: Work towards reaching playoffs
  • Develop Ligue 2’s best youth system

2022/23 season:

  • Ligue 2: Work towards reaching playoffs
  • Develop Ligue 2’s best youth system

2023/24 season:

  • Ligue 2: Reach playoffs
  • Develop Ligue 2’s best youth system

That should be easily done. We already have one of the best academies in Ligue 2, and I personally think we can do better than a mid-table finish in our first season. I aim to gain promotion to Ligue 1 within three seasons!

Objectives & Restrictions

I already mentioned that winning trophies is not my main objective for this save. Of course, I hope to pick up some silverware along the way. But, developing players is our goal here. My objectives for this savegame are as follows:

  • Produce at least 60 elite players (players playing in top-5 leagues)
  • Produce European Golden Boy winner
  • Produce Ballon d’Or winner
  • Become the biggest supplier of players to the French national team

For this savegame, I only have one restriction. Don’t sign any players! FC Sochaux‘s academy is really good, and I want to use it. Buying players could potentially hamper a graduate’s development. Even if a prospect only has three and a half stars of potential, I want to get the most out of him. I’ll only work with players that come through our annual youth intakes.

So, there you have it, folks. My first ever blog post! I want to thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m sure this is going to be a proper challenge, and I’m excited to get this underway!

Since I’m making my debut as a blogger, I’d appreciate getting some feedback. You can use the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter.

In my next post, I’ll write about the current key players and some of the youngsters. I’ll also show you the players that I’ve picked to be my ‘case studies’. I’ll then elaborate on these in my third update. How am I going to train them and what do I expect from their progression going forward.

See you next time!

Other posts in The Kids from Montbéliard

#2 – Key Players & Bright Prospects – The Kids from Montbéliard

5 thoughts on “#1 – The Kids from Montbéliard

  1. Hi mate please add me and dm me on Twitter.. I could be of great help to you.. for the last four fm’s I play only as Sochaux.. although I don’t just do youth only I regularly play youth from the beginning and bring through many youngsters. My Twitter is @lukeyworwood

    Like

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