#FM15 #HaarlemGlobetrotting : Haarlem Heartbreak

When Haarlem reformed last summer great things were expected from the famous old club. They re-emerged full of promise, full of hope and will end the season disappointed. The 3-0 beating at ASWH all but confirmed that Haarlem will not win the Hoofdklasse C this season and will have to spend a second season in the fourth tier of Dutch football. Too many finishing second will still be a massive achievement, if they can hold on to the runners-up spot in the remaining seven games, but to manager Chris Darwen it will feel like failure, reports Filippo Spada of De Volkskrant.

Haarlem have struggled to find the magic potion of consistency this season. In spells they have been delightful to watch, their 3-3-1-3 formation completely different to anything else in the division. On other occasions they have been woeful, and on these occasions Darwen must have been yearning for some older heads on the pitch to guide his young troops through the games where their youthful enthusiasm had fallen away. They are still the league’s top goal scorers but, amazingly, they have conceded only one fewer than the bottom club, Oranje Wit. In Brinkman and Benda they have two of the three leading marksmen in the division, but they have only kept three clean sheets.

They were not out-classed against the league leaders, just simply impotent at both ends. Chance after chance was missed and every time ASWH attacked they looked capable of putting the ball past Voss who, it has to be said, has not had the calming impact in goal that had been expected. ASWH’s victory widened the gap to eight points, with a game in hand meaning Haarlem should now be more concerned with keeping Baronie and Kloetinge away from 2nd place.

Manager Darwen said, “I have to hold my hands up, I’ve been asking a lot of my players playing the system we play. It is different, and I have not been very flexible in my approach. Between now and the end of the season we will try a couple of different systems as well as tweaking my favoured approach and see if we can find a consistent winning formula. By the same token, we sit second in the table which, for a club that didn’t exist this time last year and for a team with an average age of 20, is pretty bloody good. However, I wanted and expected the league title. Having been promoted in my first season at Clapton FC, FC Carl Zeiss Jena, FC Sete, US Soregno, Gvardiets and Padova I am no stranger to getting out of the lowest division at the first attempt so this is helping me reassess where I have gone wrong this season.”

It is thought that Darwen might dabble in a formation that does not include strikers, something he used successfully at Clapton FC and is also currently being used at Benfica with their legendary manager Guido Merry. It would be another upheaval in the style of play at the Haarlem Stadion with Darwen shifting from a traditional 433 to his 3313 after just one match.

Still, this is a club that it is on it’s way back so patience is needed. With Haarlem predicted to finish mid-table in their 125th anniversary year many will be happy with what they have seen so far.

Filippo Spada
De Volkskrant

Kom op Haarlem!

(if you enjoyed all that ramble, why not read a chapter of my second book, “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager: The Second Season Syndrome” here: http://www.chrisdarwen.com)

#FM15 #TheChangingOfTheGvards – what’s this one about then?

Hello folks, and welcome to my new journey in the newly formed Football Association of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, or AR Crimea as they will be known from here on in.  I’m not pretending to know too much about the history or politics of Russia, Ukraine and Crimea but there has been talk that UEFA are going to sanction them as a new footballing country and help them set up a league structure following the Ukraine FA kicking out clubs based in Crimea. Continue reading “#FM15 #TheChangingOfTheGvards – what’s this one about then?”

FM15 Clapton Corner Part Sixteen: The Clap is back….

Welcome back folks, and welcome back to my FM15 Clapton Corner save. I have decided to change the design of the blog to hopefully make it a little easier to navigate, let me know if you like it. It has been a while since I have been anywhere near this, having thrown my toys out of the pram before Christmas as we had lost a couple of games. For those of you joining me for the first time, this part of my blog is about the challenge I set myself, taking Clapton FC (one of the oldest “amateur” clubs in England and former winners of the FA Amateur Cup) to the Football League, in an ideal situation, playing a brand of football that is supposed to be impossible in the lower leagues – @merryguido’s Strikerless.

Continue reading “FM15 Clapton Corner Part Sixteen: The Clap is back….”

FM15 Clapton Corner Part Fifteen: Happy new FM15 year, January 2015

Happy New FM15 Year!  I haven’t played my Clapton save for a few days as I have been letting the blogs I had written in advance catch up.  We are now very much back in real time, and I am genuinely excited about pushing The Tons forward in the remainder of the 2015/16 season.  Offline, I have been looking at ways that I can tweak the Strikerless formation that we are using and seeing if there is anyway I can tighten up a touch defensively, whilst losing none of our attacking brilliance – and I think I may have done, so we shall see how it pans out this month.

Continue reading “FM15 Clapton Corner Part Fifteen: Happy new FM15 year, January 2015”

FM15 – Dear Mr Ferguson, how exactly did you win so many titles playing 442?

Folks, not so much a blog but a cry for help.

I am no tactical expert, the only formation I have ever really been able to design myself with some success was a simple 433 which, if I am being totally honest, was a mishmash of things I had learned from other people.  I am going to try and put together a 442 with some ideals that I will lay out below, but I need guidance and advice please.

So, the principles of what I am shooting for…

  • Attacking & attractive
  • Wins the ball back high up the pitch
  • Solid defensively, but not at the cost of playing attractive football
  • Avoids the usual 442 trap of straight lines
  • Uses the wings and gets lots of crosses in

The two main strikers I am going to have for this project prefer playing as a Target Man and an Advanced Forward, but I would probably like to make the TM a DF.

I have wide players that seem capable of playing WM or as a W.

Central midfielders seem a mixed bag of everything.

I am happy to lay down a framework and start training the players to fit into it, rather than making a formation to fit the players – just the way I have always played FM.

If anyone has any ideas, thoughts, feedback on how I should set this up I am all ears 🙂


Follow me on Twitter:  @comeontheoviedo

FM15 Blog: www.comeontheoviedo.wordpress.com

Author of the “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” series available on Amazon here

Read the first chapter of “The Second Season Syndrome” at www.chrisdarwen.com

FM15 Legends Interview: Guido of www.strikerless.com

Guys, I am delighted to launch a new section of the blog today.  Since starting to get into this whole blogging thing following the success of the “Johnny Cooper, Championship Manager” books I wrote I have wanted to learn more about the folks who are already leading the way in this field.  For me, Guido is one of the reasons I wanted to give it a go.  I find his articles and tactical creativity really interesting, and something that I am aspiring to.  So, I was delighted when he agreed to answer a few questions!

Continue reading “FM15 Legends Interview: Guido of www.strikerless.com”