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Hello and welcome back to defenceFirst and the third part of my introductory blog posts;  ‘My Football Manager 2018 Story’. This post will be dedicated to season 3, my personal favourite period of any Football Manager save. The reason being is I’ll be 5/6 transfer windows into the save, and I’ll have had chance to bring in my own players to fit the way I want to play.

This is why I think it’s always so important to give ANY save at least 12 months, just so you have the chance to turn the ship into the direction you want to sail in. Too often (I’m guilty of this sometimes myself) I see people quit saves after 5 or so league games, when in theory, they’re at a disadvantage as they’re plugging and playing a philosophy with a group of players they didn’t sign to fit the criteria.

If you read Part two, I talked about The Art Of Premier League survival, and below is the platform I have to build on moving into season 3.


We did well defensively, managing to only concede 51 goals in 38 games, which is respectable for a first season in the top flight. We were also the top scorers in the bottom half of the table too; albeit with only 44 goals in 38 games. I knew I couldn’t rely on those goal-scoring figures to help me push forward, I needed to strengthen my attacking options.

Thankfully, with managing in the Premier League, I’m able to access the vast sums of TV money, and after one season in the top flight with the lowest wage bill, I was given a pretty transfer kitty; 60m! With this money I really did believe I could turn 12th place into top 8 and potential European football. For the time being, I’ll be sticking with my 4-2-3-1 shape, as it served me so well the season prior.

I’ll begin with my departures, and 62m worth.

Tom Lees…20 MILLION pounds, you did read that correctly!

Notable departures include the ever reliable Barry Bannan for 11m, Gary Hooper who scored 12 league goals the season before for 3m and Tom Lees for a staggering 20m! His value at the time was about 13m, and Hull provided me with an offer I could not refuse. I was intending to keep him as a backup, but no backup player in my position is worth that sort of money, thank you Hull City!

So in theory, I now have 120m to build a squad…which I really enjoyed spending as any FM player would admit! Now with these screenshots you will need to recognise my save is now 7 years down the line, so some players may have improved, and some will have declined in ability. I’ll point out which is the case below.

First up, Patrick Roberts:

Wonderfully Versatile, can play anywhere in behind the striker in my desired 4-2-3-1 formation.

A brilliant pickup for 10.5m, he was transfer listed and understandably so by club at the time Manchester City. He was a star, wonderfully versatile but mainly found himself on the right wing.

Now at Manchester United, Sander Berg is reaching his peak. A super servant who was a key figure in my squad.

Costing 24.5m from KRC Genk, he was for me the complete holding midfielder. Comfortable in the tackle, and calm on the ball. Perfect as a DLP holding midfielder who allowed those further forward the freedom to attack.

Versatile once more, exactly the sort of player I tend to go for!

Next up is Tonny Trindade de Vilhena, who’s stats have sadly taken a turn for the worse. Still, he proved a very useful addition. Picked up from Feyenoord after activating his 8.5m release clause, he proved a brilliant addition to my squad, and one who is once more very versatile.

Just look at that position map, it’s a managers dream!

Lewis Baker was purchased mainly as a backup midfielder, and that’s exactly what he was. He still managed 22 appearances, 15 were as a substitute.

A free transfer but a healthy profit in the end!

Danny Welbeck is next up who has retired and is currently living it large in Gillingham. He was still a brilliant signing as you can see by his stats, he mainly played out on the wing too!

Wow…Ross Barkley, a statement signing!

Usually, he wouldn’t be available. But the first of 2 signings from Everton, Barkley signed for 23m after Everton were RELEGATED from the Premier League, Big Sam wasn’t available to save them this time (thankfully for me). He is still going strong at Man City, but his career is coming to an end at the top.

Now at West Ham and in his prime years, a solid GK.

Pickford went straight to number one…not his Christmas single but between the sticks (it’s a shit joke I know). He was signed sealed and delivered for just 5.25m, call me David Dickinson as I was on a Bargain Hunt…

A shame that he’s never been capped for England, as he is a solid striker.

Tammy was loaned for the season after 7 goals in 18 for West Ham the previous campaign. Tammy was mainly backup, and only mustered 2 goals in 18, which was a shame. He later went on to have a good career for himself in the Premier League and now in Italy…FANTASTICO.

Now a Head Of Youth Development, he was a great pickup after being transfer listed by Liverpool.

The OX fitted into my team perfectly, able to operate on both wings he added real quality to my ranks.

Solid, solid CB. Would recommend for any save!

Harry Maguire was signed as a replacement for Mr 20m, Tom Lees. Maguire, a much better CB was signed for only 19.5m, lovely.

A perfect utility player.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah was signed on loan for the season, and proved to be a valuable signing. Mainly a backup, but he played all over the shop.

Now Onto January and my last notable signing…

Mr Gerard Oomen…wow. An unbelievable talent.

Oomen was picked up for 25.5m, which for an 18 year old seems ridiculous, but he is just an outstanding player 7 years later as you can see below >

As his favourite role says, he is the COMPLETE FORWARD.

So that’s the signings made to build on Premier League survival in season 3, and it proved to be money well spent. We managed to secure 3rd place and a spot in the Champions League, which for season 2 in the Premier League is superb. It just goes to show if you plan ahead and spend wisely it can be done, please see the table below >

74 points usually wouldn’t be enough for 3rd, thankfully it was this season!

So you’ve seen my signings and the final league table, so here’s the squad used and the best 11 for the season >

No extravagant player roles, we kept things simple and it worked a treat.

As you can see, there’s some familiar faces from season 2 who made an appearance, and even season 1. Other faces such as Lamartine Braga and Eduardo were signed for the youth team, but who didn’t make an impact this season.

Next time, I’m going to be sharing my KEY formation change and brave transfer decisions which led to Premier League Glory. I hope you’ve enjoyed part 3 of My Football Manager 2018 Story.

In the meantime, why not check out my Twitter > @defenceFirstFM ? I’m frequently sharing other FM bloggers and inside info on my current FM18 saves.

Until next time, Thank You for reading