Early access for Football Manager 2024 is expected this week (commencing 16 October), largely given the presence of the alpha gameplay videos dropped today (Wednesday) by a string of FM content creators.
That means it’s time to decide on what my path will be for FM24 but, in truth, the decision was made ages ago.
I avoided the beta save idea for the FM23 cycle given we were so tied into the gameplay action for The Football Manager Football Show but with a shift in recording dates and styles (it’s all done on one day), that’s opened up a few evenings a week for me where I can sink my teeth into the ‘early access’ version on the PC. Plus, I’m in the middle of a fortnight away from work, laptop in the bag, so what else am I going to be doing…
FM24 Beta: Rochdale
While I’m rushing to get as much of my fourth season with Benfica in FM23 done and dusted, and I’m into a second season with Liverpool for the podcast, I’ll be heading to England for the two weeks or so into the full version of the game and taking up with Rochdale.
I’ve a feeling I may have dipped my toes into a Rochdale save about ten years ago but the inspiration for the save comes from an Irish sports presenter probably another ten or twenty years previous to that who decided he would support ABU – anyone but United – and shone a spotlight on Rochdale. If you listen to The Football Manager Football Show you’ll know that we’re big on local connections, and that’s where the other link to Rochdale for me comes as a Kilkenny man. Kilkenny’s Jimmy Keohane (born in England but raised in Kilkenny) is still at Rochdale, having come through the ranks at Belvedere, Kilkenny’s Evergreen, Wexford Youths, Cork City and more.
Plus, Rochdale’s 102-year association with the Football League was ended last season when they were relegated to the National League. Everyone loves a comeback story, don’t they? Especially one based out of a league that’s notoriously hard to get out of.
Now it’s very possible that Rochdale’s save will get an extension beyond the beta but if I can make it through two weeks, get one season done and ideally not get sacked, I reckon I’ll have done very well and warmed up to the main save.
FM24: The Main Save
My intention for the last month or two of the FM23 cycle had been to wrap up with Benfica after a third season and crack on with a trip to the USA and take up in the MLS. Maybe I was having too much craic in Portugal or maybe I was caught with work and other projects but the MLS journey never took off.
Thankfully, the groundwork has been done and I’ve every intention of taking up with New England Revolution. It’s a family thing with the club, plus I did have a decent pro career there in FIFA a few years ago but there is one caveat for the save – the amount I know about the MLS and the structures of the American soccer landscape, I could probably write on the back of a Micro SD card or something even smaller.
The Revs are one of the OGs of the MLS, having competed in the League’s inaugural season in 1996. Last season, they missed the playoffs, having finished 10th out of 15 in the Eastern Conference and 20th overall. They’ve made five MLS Cup finals over the years but never lifted the trophy. Steve Nicol’s been coach, Brad Friedel’s been coach and most recently, Bruce Arena was head coach until his sacking this past September. There’s plenty of home-grown talent at the club, some prospects in the academy and a whole world of opportunity in a league that some find near-impossible to get their heads around.
It’s planned to be a long-term save, I’m also planning on using it as a learning tool as I go, and after a few trial evenings in FM23, I’m also planning on switching on the cameras and taking it to stream to help things along – lord knows I might need the help.
What about the podcast?
For now, The Football Manager Football Show’s journey will continue in the Premier League and we’ll keep going withi FM23 until the official launch date for FM24. At that stage we’re hoping to port the save and for the first time ever, bring the universe that we’ve created into the next release of the game, meaning we’ll get to see how our Liverpool and Man City teams make use of some of these new features, roles and transfers, four seasons deep.
The countdown is on
There’s never any set date for the FM beta versions to drop, but like the rest of the world, I’m primed and ready to go. Time to get stuck in! Follow the adventures on X / Twitter, with the promise of more frequent writings, via @tacticalmanager.