And then it was over…: Career End with FC United

…I’ve decided to stay on at FC United until I’m fired; this is entering dynasty territory now.

So I must have jinxed myself. Having built up a team I felt confident could not only stay up but finish midtable (or even press into playoff position), the 2026/27 season began with FCUM looking solid. However, a nagging problem within the club was the board’s refusal to upgrade training facilities. It was no small thing as the current facilities were still the same quality from when the team was in the Vanarama North. Players were stalling in development and experiencing not a few too many injuries. Yet, I was able to pull this team up from the moment I took over and keep it moving forward.

history

I had gone to the board at least twice a season (pre- and post- January transfer window) from the moment the team left the Vanarama National league pleading for improving the training facilities. Let me stress again, the facilities were poor. Now in League One and having had nothing but profitable seasons with me at the helm of the team, I thought the board would come around, but it didn’t.

Here is where I made a fateful decision. I leaked to the press the board’s refusal. This immediately triggered it calling me in to account for it. I stood my ground. Suddenly, the board, which had backed many of my decisions, turned on me.

fired

Like every player I’ve been fired before in this game. I was shocked by this decision. I thought for sure I had more backing from the club–one I had not just stabilized but made a rising force while putting it in the black financially. Nearly the entire coaching staff left with me, which although a small consolation was still nice. 

success

I toyed with the idea of going to a rival. My initial thought was to take up with Salford in my attempt to bring more Manchester teams up. I did interview a third time to manage Minnesota United but decided against accepting its offer (finally glad they did offer it to me) because in MLS there’s nowhere to go–no promotion/relegation, no meaningful Champions League.

So, I retired. Career over. Honestly, I doubt I’m coming back to Football Manager again for a while. The game gives too much power to players allowing their petulance to have more authority than the manager’s decision making options. Also, the scripts for managers are too…trivial.

Overall, this firing makes me sad because I had hoped to lead FC United of Manchester to the Premier League. Imagine it, three proper Manchester clubs in the EPL and fewer London clubs.

I failed.

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