Football Manager 2022 – Newcastle United: Pitman v Squires v O’Leary

When Newcastle United got taken over, there were many thoughts that came to mind. If you were a passionate Newcastle United fan, #cans, was likely one of the first things to pop into your head, but if you were a Football-Manager loving fan, you likely started planning how you’d rebuild Newcastle United on Football Manager 2022 and utilise the injection of funds the club had just received. This was the case when it came to Football Manager fans: Tommy Pitman, Laura O’Leary, and Jon Squires. The trio agreed to manage the Magpies in Football Manager 2022 and compare how they got on, mainly in order to gain bragging rights. Here are the results:

TRANSFERS

TOMMY PITMAN – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1:

With the funds available, strengthening the first 11 needed to happen, along with clearing out some of the players who weren’t up to scratch. With the new wide centre back role I knew I wanted a 3-5-2 so extra quality at centre back and a strike partner for Callum Wilson was essential. Dusan Vlahovic was the man up-front I wanted at almost any cost. Lisandro Martinez and Calum Chambers were targeted to strengthen the backline with Chambers being a bit of a bargain. Wing back and the middle of midfield then became the focus of attention. Geoffrey Kondogbia was transfer-listed for peanuts for a player of his quality and was a no-brainer, while Sergino Dest came in to play at RWB and move over to the left if needed. Ismael Bennacer looked like the perfect deep-lying playmaker and could elevate the level of the team. I don’t like shipping out too many of a first-team squad when I first start with a team so the main outgoings were those who just didn’t fit into the team or were made obsolete by the incomings. It was a real struggle getting any sort of fees for some players (looking at you Dwight Gayle) so they stuck around until January or the end of the season when more shipping out happened.

LAURA O’LEARY – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1 :

This is the first time in ages that I’ve ever felt overwhelmed when deciding how to overhaul a team in the transfer market. This isn’t just because of the level of funds I had access to, but there were very few players at the club that I was overly convinced by. I mean aside from Allan Saint-Maximin and Wilson, if the right offer reached my inbox, I would have been willing to strike a deal. Yet just like Tommy, I didn’t want to ship too many players out upon becoming Newcastle United manager as I had a feeling that might come back to haunt me. So the players that left in the summer, were the ones that had reasonable offers that came in for them the quickest, effectively, hence why Matt Ritchie was one of the first players I pushed out the door despite the fact his versatility would have proven useful cover. I did actively try to shift Jonjo Shelvey due to his monster wages not justifying his role as back-up for my first-choice options, but I couldn’t get him out the door until January. I put this down to the fact that while he actively was always on the brink of moaning about playing time and wanting a loan move, he always backed down when I said I wanted to sell him; who knew he was so loyal???

As for incomings, I knew I needed to add quality to the Magpies’ midfield option especially when it came to having a decent defensive midfielder I could count on. This led to me spending big on Declan Rice as not only is he a home-grown talent but given his age, he can grow with my Magpies side as well as be an instant gamechanger. I then added Ruben Loftus-Cheek to play the role of my deep-lying playmaker, which in part was down to the fact he was transferred listed for £5.5m and that seemed reasonable all things considered. Renan Lodi and Gianluca Mancini and Chambers then were snapped up as I realised I couldn’t neglect improving the Magpies’ defensive options, especially given the fact I like to play with wing-backs and the Magpies’ squad wasn’t exactly dripping with options. Striker Wout Weghorst was also signed as relying on Wilson for the whole season, once again seemed like a decision that would have seen me abandoning my save when he no doubt ended up injured. Thiago Mendes ended up being one of my most reliable summer signings and I only ended up with him as Lyon included him as part of a deal that saw them got Emil Krafth, who I had no intention of using. I did feel like I needed more depth or just a little boost in January when it came to signings, so I did bring Harvey Elliott in on loan, a deal I have since made permanent, and added Hans Hateboer as well as Federico Bernardeschi for small fees to see me through to the end of the season.

JON SQUIRES Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1 :

As a Newcastle fan, having all this money to spend was/is an absolute dream. I knew the players I needed to strengthen, with the main one being a striker to either play up with Wilson, or could be the focal point as a lone striker. £65 million was a lot for DCL, but as a young, English, centre forward I feel this was well worth the outlay. He can play as a lone striker or with a pair so would fit into the two formations I had in mind. I also knew my fullback/wingback positions needed strengthening so went straight for Layvin Kurzawa from PSG who would slot in at left wingback, as it turned out Jamal Lewis had a great season at left-back, but it meant I had some depth in a problem position for Newcastle. Centre back, and mainly a ball playing centre half was one of my main dilemmas, especially for my initial formation of five at the back, ideally, I wanted two ball-playing defenders to play either side of a more limited defender which led to me bringing in Samuel Gidot and Amir Rrahmani. The middle of the park is also where Newcastle are limited so I made the decision to move on a few of my midfielders and bring in Geoffrey Kondogbia and Dani Cabellos for around £10million combined, I thought this was a great piece of business especially with my initial 3-5-2 formation.

FINAL LEAGUE TABLE:

TOMMY PITMAN – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1:

Given where we finished, the key moments feel like a league double against Chelsea, a 5-1 battering of Leicester and a convincing 4-2 win against Arsenal. Our run of fixtures at the end of the season was pretty rough, playing Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all in the last 8 matches of the season and coming out of those only losing to United cemented our spot in the top four with a last-minute winner against Chelsea from Chambers giving us real belief. Finishing in a Champions League position was a real surprise. I’d been hoping for a place in the Europa or Conference League first to give an extra season of building but I can’t really complain about being in the Champions League! The cup competitions were a non-starter with a difficult draw against Chelsea in the FA Cup 3rd round while a heavily rotated team lost away at Blackburn in the League Cup so there was no silverware coming to Newcastle just yet.

LAURA O’LEARY – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1 :

While I was just hoping not to embarrass myself and be fired by Christmas as I knew I would be writing this article and would be compared to Squires as well as Pitman, I ended up being confident that I’d sneak into Europe once I had concluded my summer business. Yet it wasn’t to be as my end-of-season form was dreadful. I ended up losing the last five games of the season, suffering losses to Everton, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Arsenal. While losing the latter four was perhaps understandable, see the table for more information, the loss to Everton was a real sucker punch as we had spent the season neck-and-neck for a top-seven finish. The only comfort I can take from how the final table finished is that seventh-place didn’t end up being a European place as Leeds United bizarrely won the Carabao Cup. As for the cups, do I really have to talk about them? I was eliminated by Leicester City in the League Cup 4th Round and Peterborough United sent me packing in the FA Cup 3rd Round despite my decision to field an almost full-strength side.

Jon Squires – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1 :

If you’d told me at the start of the season I’d finish 8th and miss out on European football because of goal difference I’d have bitten your hand off. However, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. They say football is a game of two halves, and our season was definitely that. Sitting top, unbeaten after the first five games, I thought we were onto something big and then Christmas came around… We won two games between January 1st and March 1st which was just unacceptable and was the main reason we finished in the position we did. We were too inconsistent in games, beating Man City and Chelsea towards the end of the season but losing to West Ham, Everton and Watford which dented our European hopes. The Cups weren’t kind to us either, losing to Man City and Chelsea in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup respectively.

END OF SEASON REVIEW:

TOMMY PITMAN – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1:

Our key players through the season were Chambers, Bennacer and Wilson. Chambers was great at the back often keeping opposition strikers quiet and popping up with an occasional goal or assist while Bennacer kept the ball and moved it around brilliantly. Our set-piece taker he set up a fair few from corners and even found the back of the net with a few free-kicks and long-range screamers. Wilson was our most consistent goal scorer often coming up with a vital goal. Vlahovic contributed strongly ending with 20 goals in all competitions but these came in bursts (looking at you five goals against Palace in a mad match which finished 9-5). Dest was a bit disappointing, as was Martinez who didn’t reach the levels of Chambers.

LAURA O’LEARY – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1:

Despite all those fancy players being signed, Saint-Maximin and Wilson were my key men. Saint-Maximin in the inverted-winger role just seemed to drift into space for fun, racking up goals and assists for fun, with Wilson just consistently scoring even in games where my team barely got a sniff of the ball. As for my new boys, Mancini was probably the only signing I consistently got the best out of. In his role of ball-playing centre-back, he was calm and composed at the back, which made him a rarity in my defence. Loftus-Cheek, Rice, Lodi, Chambers and Weghorst all had moments for me; but it’s hard to say they were anything but solid signings as all of them went through patches of noticeably poor form. This is likely down to me in some cases, as I did sign Weghorst to play as a Target Man in order to utilise his heading attribute (16!) by focusing on wing-play but the form of Wilson made me tear up that plan and have to adjust accordingly.

Jon Squires – Newcastle United – Football Manager 2022 – Season 1 :

As you can see, six of my best 11 were all new signings brought in to improve the quality of the squad. If you’re a follower of Premier League football you’ll notice that Wilson is absent from this best 11. Wilson started the season injured and then kept picking up little knocks so barely played any minutes. This led to me splashing the cash on Alexander Isak to join DCL as my out and out strikers, and with 35 goals between them, I think they did good. Saint-Maximin playing just behind the front two worked wonders and he chipped in with a few goals too. His average rating of 7.38 ended up making him my star player for that season. The left wing back position is an interesting one, as you can see Kurzawa is in the starting 11, however, Jamal Lewis had a higher average rating. The competition between them probably improved Lewis more and is why I’ll be moving Kurzawa on in the second season. Defensively, we were pretty poor and the ratings reflect that with my defenders all averaging below a seven. But with two new centre backs in this defence I won’t complain too much, and hope next season we can improve at the back.

Season One conclusion:

Pitman clearly fared the best out of the three competing managers and showed how it’s possible to get Newcastle United back competing in Europe in just one season if the funds are spent right. Yet perhaps it’s too much too soon for Pitman’s Newcastle? Maybe Squires and Laura have learnt valuable lessons from just missing out on Europe in season one?

Make sure to stay tuned to www.totallybuzzed.co.uk, in order to see what occurs in season two.

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