Your Lowest Ebb

When we asked followers of the Set Pieces to send in their worst Football Manager Memories as part of their entry to the Football Manager Cup, we were inundated with their tales of woe. From goalkeeping injury plagues, to broken laptops and Phil Jones wonder strikes here’s a selection of the best…

Liam Culligan: Having won multiple Premier League titles and domestic cups with my beloved Leeds United, I still had a burning desire to lift the European Cup for the first time in the club’s history, I awoke one morning to find that my laptop had been stolen.

Jo Barnes: Took England to a World Cup Final against Italy. Joe Hart broke a finger in the semi-final, Rob Green had the flu. David James comes on as a sub and saves a stoppage time penalty, then announces retirement the next day before the final. Play Carragher in goal. Lose 3-2

Jacob Jackman: My worst FM memory was in the Championship play off semi final with Portsmouth this year. Both of my keepers were injured and my youth keeper got injured 4 minutes into the first leg. I had to play Danny Graham in goal and lost 13-1 to Cardiff on aggregate.

Eoin McCall: My worst ever FM memory was being caught playing FM12 instead of revising the day before my GCSE RE paper and faced with the ignominy of the situation, I decided to tell my mum I was in fact watching porn instead.

Kyle Schwab: As Crawley Town I rescued  PSG reserve Anthony LaFon. He fires 100 in 2yrs to put us into the CL. Board sells him for $120,000,000. He scores a brace against me in 3 FA finals, 2 LC finals, 2 CL finals, a WC Final, & a EC Final.

Tom Hughes: 2031 Champions Cup QF 2nd leg. Burnley v Barcelona. We won the first leg 4-0 (I know) in Spain. At HT the score was 1-1. 50th minute, my GK sees red, and I didn’t have a sub GK on the bench. Idiot. We went out on away goals.

Nick Davis: FM13. FA Cup final. Arsenal vs Man Utd. Playing as Arsenal I batter United with shots, failing to score with all but one. They also have one. This is up until the 119th minute in extra time where Phil Jones (Yes, Phil Jones) lobs Szczęsny from 55 yards. Utter devastation.

Nicholas Dutton: In my third season with Brechin City I achieved promotion to the Scottish Premier League, won the League Cup and managed to turn a small profit, only to be told that undersoil heating is mandatory in the top flight. Cost? £5m. Result? Bankruptcy, administration, player revolt, sacked in October.

Conor Donohoe: FM 2011, getting Derby promoted via the play offs with an on loan Alberto Bueno scoring 40+ goals, only to spend the entire next season’s budget to buy him outright, have him completely flop and be immediately relegated again. Your Moneyball series would have come in handy back then.

Jacob Blair: Pre-season before Redditch United’s debut season in the Prem saw David Bentley and Park-Ji Sung arrive. Days before the opening match the save corrupted; years of work and a part of my soul were lost. Bernardo Corradi’s goals were pointless, Dion Dublin’s clearances worthless and Chris Sutton’s leadership rendered obsolete.

Ben Evans: Took Fulham to the Champions League final in 4 seasons. Lost the final. New chairman with lots of money takes over in the summer. Sacked me. I cried.

Lorenzo Pacitti: The scene, a balmy evening in the Carlos Tartiere, Oviedo. 6 seasons into his tenure, Pacitti brings on a retiring legend for the final minutes of a point v Atleti to seal European competition. Boom. Slack pass. Round the keeper. Tears. Tantrums. Trauma. Fuck yer Gerrard, you don’t know pain.

James Cross: My worst ever FM memory was finding out that the star I thought I discovered – To Madeira – was actually a researcher who snuck himself into the game!

Ted Forsyth: Worst moment was undoubtedly playing FM on Xmas day 2011 – if there’s an FM rock-bottom, surely avoiding spending time with your family in favour of managing a lower league side is it.

James Proudlock:  Took Portsmouth from L2 to Prem/EL in 7-seasons. Signed a 19 year old from Atletico Paranaense. 29 goals in his first year. Became the love of my life. End of the season. Pressed space, minimized. Opened to find he’d gone. Said he was relieved. Heartbreak. Haven’t opened the game since.

Matt Rattle: FM05, Liverpool. Losing all 6 goalkeepers in the squad to injury in pre season. Starting season with greyed out made up player in goal.

Sam Stringer: 5th June, 9:28pm. Tomas Kalas of Racing Club de Lens commits the worst atrocity since Palpatine executed Order 66; his error allows a 36 year old Cristiano Ronaldo to put Real Madrid 2-1 up in the 88th minute and steal the Champions League trophy. Valar Morghulis.

Joe Thomlinson: FM08 – Carlisle vs. Exeter City. My Grecians were strolling to a 3-0 win with 25 minutes to play. Easy. But, when both your centre-backs decide they want an early bath it isn’t. I ended up drawing 3-3 and losing 5-4 on penalties. The laptop did not survive the night.

Daniel Stapleton: I was on the verge of securing the league title with Forest when a last minute Everton equaliser scuppered our chances. The scorer was a player I had discarded in the summer for just £2m and he finished as the league’s top scorer. So, naturally, I exited without saving. Felt dirty afterwards though.

Rhys Hayward: My parents slept under three duvets for two months because of the hole in their bedroom wall caused by Newcastle’s incompetent Uefa Cup quarter final away leg performance against Dinamo Kiev. 0-2.

Nathan Guildea: I guided Altrincham into the Premiership while I was in hospital on FM14 but I got sacked due to a club takeover, it can be a cruel FM world.

Steve Mogan:  Seeing my wonderkid-laden Frankfurt team mount the least convincing title defence in history after a Redknapp-worthy transfer binge saw me welcome 14 new faces to the club in one summer. I had Isco! Verratti! Hazard! I had… no cohesion. I was unemployed by Christmas. Lesson learned.

Hamed Bastan-Hagh: In 2000; Barcelona, coming off a title win. Spent my whole transfer budget (and sold players) to buy original Ronaldo. Camp Nou was bouncing for his first home game. Then I saw something I had never seen before (or since): “RONALDO HAS STRUCK THE REFEREE!”. 12-month ban and finished 9th.


The Football Manager Cup will begin in June. Good luck. 

Your Lowest Ebb
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