Interviewee - Algernon Withnail (Bedford Town Spurs)
Interviewer - Johan (IFK)
Forum Post Date - 11th September 2009
Original Thread - Click here
For our next instalment we are going to division 2 group 2 to see what Bedford Town has to say. Glad to see someone older than me so the bullies of the Prem with their age paranoia can see for themselves 40+ is nothing :)
1. Who is Bedford?
48 year old - yeah I know a bit old to be gaming, I have an email address older than a fair few players!
2. When you started out in TM did you have any early plans and did they go like you wanted?
I've played a lot of online "resource management" type games (though not of the football genre) so I was a bit cautious to rush in, spend all my cash and change too much. A trawl of the forums and a good read of the manual sets you up with a fair idea how to progress.
3. If you started again with a new club would you do the exact same things?
I think so, things have worked out pretty well.
4. Any advice for a new manager starting the game today?
Don't spend all your cash the 1st day. Keep an eye on your attendance and as soon as it hits your stadium capacity upgrade a stand. A big ground may look good, but if you can't fill it will be costing you.
To get out of the lower divisions you can't beat age and experience which can often be bought on the cheap.
Don't put too much store on ASI - Competence in key skills is far more important.
Slowly develop YD and TG - keep an eye on your economy update and don't overstretch.
Pick your best 11 players then choose a formation that suits them. If you have to swap players about (injuries/suspensions) don't be afraid to change formations instead of playing people out of favourite positions.
Anyone needs any advice I'd be glad to help.
5. Happy with your YD so far and the results from it?
10 of my 1st team squad are home grown and I have some good lads coming through. I'm selling enough to keep my cash flow good and still afford to upgrade 1 foreign player at every NT sale.
My reserve team is doing so well I have to drop good players to avoid being promoted from div 5 where they get good ratings and end of season’s awards that add value. Div 4 would be a step to far and my ego can live without it.
The real disappointment though is never having a home grown player picked for England yet!
6. YD or TG what’s the most important in your opinion and why?
I've always kept them balanced as I've gone down the route of developing my own players, both are at level 9 now and that works well for me, either of them higher and my economy would mean I had to reduce the other.
7. How much time do you spend on TM every day/week?
Probably too much, I log in every morning while running bath and having a coffee. On again back from work. Once you have got the hang of how things work I've found it quite a low maintenance game - most of the time I appear online but I am probably nowhere near my PC or even in the house.
I must admit, I do like watching the matches live and I will grab a beer or two or open a bottle of wine, sad I know!
8. If you could hack Thomas account for a day and change TM at your will what would you change and what things would you implement?
Although "B" teams negate it a bit, I've always thought the idea of putting players out on a season’s loan would be a good idea and reflect the real game. It would help players gain experience and if you restricted it to only lending to a lower team with a 1 player cap. It could still be useful as not everyone has Pro or can afford the extra 15 days pro it costs.
I'd like to see U-21 international competitions as well.
9. Tactics do they matter or is it only down to having the best players available?
Formations must suit your best 11
Style must suit your formation and/or abilities (there was a few pointers to this in the old manual, is this available anymore?)
Mentality must suit your players and formation as well, though when I play a lower team in the cup I do tend to be a lot more attacking.
I don't tend to study my next opponents tactics to much, but I do check their squad for injuries to show any possible weaknesses.
10. What is the most important position and why?
Well, I just have to say keeper, if he has a good game he can keep you in it, if he ends up with a 1 rating, you've probably just dropped 3 points. Sure, a good striker can win you a game; a keeper can win or lose the game.
11.What key skills is needed for that position(s) and why?
Someone gave me the advice when I started to look for good handling and reflexes skills in a keeper - this has served me well.
12. You have any training tips to share for your players?
Get the best coaches you can afford to cover the key areas for training across the range.
I currently have coaches for:
1 defensive midfield
1 central midfield 1 forwards
I will swap players around to try and boost complementary skills i.e. pop a winger in with midfielders to improve passing when crossing is already high.
13. TM is a great game, what do you like most about it?
I've always liked tactical resource management games ever since I discovered "Elite" on the BBC computer, although that included an element of shoot 'em up! Anyone else old enough to remember that?
14. New ME on the way are you looking forward to it?
I'm optimistic. Hopefully it will improve things, although I have no real complaints. I get a bit annoyed that cup games and friendlies seem to be weighted a bit too much for an upset. I hate going out to a div 7 side on penalties with their 1500 ASI keeper getting MoM and stopping 20+ shots!
15. This is your 7th straight season in 2,2 if my calculations are correct. Do you feel the competition getting stronger for every season?
To be honest, no. It's never been a "given" that relegated Div 1 teams will bounce back up at the 1st attempt, and the target for promoted teams is survival - anything more is a bonus. No-one should get to confident either, after improving my team I found myself rock bottom after 10 games and I just couldn't buy a win!
16. Last season you missed the playoffs on goal difference and earlier you have lost a playoff game, that must have been tough coming so close to the Prem?
Heartbreaking but one day I'll pull it off! I've got a bit of a label as a "nearly man".
17. How will you make that final step to finally receive Prem status?
My squad is constantly improving, another player in the NT sales - maybe a replacement MR - and I could well be knocking on the door next season
18. You haven’t bought many players 2009, is that a chosen strategy relying on your youth academy to provide you with players for the future?
Very much so, as I've said earlier, the revenue the ones that don't make it generates pays for 1 or 2 players in the NT sales, I cycle my foreigners and swap for a younger and better player.
19. The usual div.2 debate, which group is the strongest and if you could pick one of them to be in where would you put yourself to earn promotion easier?
I'm pretty sure there is nothing in it, of course you get a small variation in levels each season, but I'm sure these even themselves out. I'd stay in 2.2 just from the friends I have met.
20. What’s your happiest day in TM so far? Was it a special game, season or a certain youth pull?
I had a good cup run into the semis a couple of seasons back, knocking a couple of div 1 players out.
Thank you Bedford and good luck next season