Going home: Developing an identity

Thoughts on my FM19 Cardiff City save and how I plan to build an identity for the club

Cardiff City have never really had an identity. Think about the club and what you associate with them. Anything? Probably not.

If you did think of something, it was probably either hooligans (the club had a notorious crew called the Soul Crew at the height of football hooliganism) or route one football.

Let me discredit both of this. First of all, the Soul Crew haven’t been in operation for a number of years and Cardiff actually won Family Club of the Year in the EFL in 2013. Secondly, while Cardiff are currently a long-ball side, this is a characteristic of Neil Warnock, rather than the club itself.

You see, Cardiff don’t really have an identity. To many, they are a bit of a nothing club. It’s time to change that.

As manager of Cardiff City Football Club, I will be implementing a number of guidelines and rules on how the club should operate.

I’ll run you through them, as well as our goals:


Competition goals

Short term

Season one:

  • Avoid relegation from the Premier League
  • Cup competitions unimportant

Season two to five:

  • To establish Cardiff as a Premier League club
  • Qualify for Europa League
  • Reach the final of a domestic cup competition (FA Cup or League Cup)

Long term

Season six to eight:

  • Reach the semi-finals of the Europa League
  • Qualify for the Champions League
  • Win a domestic cup competition (FA Cup or League Cup)

Season nine and above:

  • Win the Premier League title
  • Reach the semi-finals of the Champions League

Squad rules

To achieve this, and to assist in giving the club an identity, I’m keen to use guidelines and squad rules. Below are a list of squad rules I will implement, which will assist me with my recruitment and squad building.

Land of my fathers

I’m a passionate Welshman and it pains me to see only one Welshman in Cardiff City’s Premier League squad. Over time, I will look to develop that.

By 2025, I hope:

  • 30% of my 25-man squad will be Welsh (eight players out of 25)

Talent

I’m an admirer of how some clubs operate to buy young talented players. Lyon are a perfect example of this, as are PSV in Holland. I’m keen to follow this and create an identity for Cardiff City to be a club that develops young talent.

By 2025:

  • 50% of my squad will be under the age of 25 (twelve out of 25)
  • 25% of my squad will be under the age of 23 (six out of 25)

Academy

When I was growing up, a number of talented local players came through the Cardiff City academy. From Robert Earnshaw to Joe Ledley, Aaron Ramsey and Chris Gunter, Cardiff had a good track record of developing talent.

It’s been a long time since that was the case. The last (from memory) academy player to play for Wales was Declan John, who is now at arch-rivals Swansea City. That needs to change.

I’m not going to put a number on this because I’ve never been particularly successful at developing academy products in FM, but if I have one player graduate from my academy and get a Welsh cap, then I’ll be happy.


Money, Money, Money (Money)

Cardiff don’t particularly have a good record with finances. From Sam Hammam’s exploits to the current level of debt, it’s clear that this needs addressing.

I aim to be financially prudent during this save, keeping a close eye on my expenditure, income and balance.

I’ve downloaded this handy financial spreadsheet from VolksRepublikFussball to help me keep track of my finances. I’ve also adapted it to use to keep track of my quotas as discussed before.

I’ll be using this template to calculate a wage budget and putting a cap on what I can offer a player based on their squad role. More to come on this once the game is out and I get my budgets.

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