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Football Manager 2017 Road to Glory: Ep. 01

The road to glory begins with a single step - picking your team.

World domination begins.

I know FUT Nation is primarily dedicated to FIFA, but I suck at FIFA. Since my fast-twitch reflexes are about as good as a those of a drunken adolescent, I play Football Manager for all of my electronic gaming-slash-playing God needs.

Alcohol Teenage Girl
She still beat me 8-0.
Photo by: Media for Medical/UIG via Getty Images

I’ve been playing Football Manager since 2010, and one of my favorite things to do in the game is to take a lower division team and turn it into a monolithic juggernaut. What fun is it taking Chelsea and running roughshod in your first season when you can build Worcester City into your own image and annihilate everyone and anyone in all of England?

This year I decided to do something a little different. When I got Football Manager 2017, I decided to take the San Marino challenge - taking San Marino Calcio to the top of the Italian pyramid while managing the Sammarinese National Team to World Cup glory. This is a rather old scenario - the first I heard about it was in 2011. There was just one problem with trying to do that this year.

San Marino Calcio was relegated to Serie D, thus making them unplayable.

Sorry lads, you’re on your own.
Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

In order to do this challenge (and thus write this story), I’d need to find a club in a nation that was historically awful at soccer. Since most of those nations don’t have clubs represented in the game, my choices were rather slim.

I thought about taking a Canadian MLS team and doing that for Canada, but I felt the three Canadian MLS teams were already pretty good and thus would give me a jumping-off point that was far too easy. Same with Wales - even taking Wrexham or Newport County seemed like cheating a bit since Swansea City and Cardiff were established. AS Monaco wasn’t an option, as Monaco isn’t a playable country.

The closest analog I could find was FC Vaduz. Vaduz is a club based in Liechtenstein - a principality the size of Washington D.C. wedged between Austria and Switzerland - who play in the Swiss Super League. They are playable, as is Liechtenstein. While the Swiss Super League isn’t Serie A or the English Premier League, it’s also not a complete backwater either. Good European competition, good adjacent talent pool (this is critical at first) - a good start.

Liechtenstein v Italy - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier
Liechtenstein’s Rheinpark Stadion comprises roughly one-third of the entire country’s land mass.
Photo by Valeriano Di Domenico/Getty Images

The plan going in is simple. First, I need to keep Vaduz from relegation. Not predicted to finish high in the ten-club table, the first year will be spent improving the staff and getting in some decent players to keep the club from dropping (and me getting fired in all likelihood). The next couple years will be spent trying to set the club up to be in a position to contend for the league title every year and progress in the European competitions. This will help not only raise the stature of the club, but to increase the revenue which is critical for improving the infrastructure - and perhaps most crucially the youth academy structure. The goal is to within five to ten seasons to have the club constantly churning out top level academy kids who are eligible not only for Vaduz, but for the Liechtenstein National Team as well.

Over the coming weeks and months I’ll lay out my plan to world domination. Until then, feel free to post your favorite tales of world conquest in the comments section below.