Hello and welcome to a new feature on FMS as we start reviewing the best FM 2013 stories. we no longer write stories on the main site and instead rely on the Forum to provide encapsulating reads. There are so many fantastic threads that myself and Johnny felt it was time to offer some recognition.
This episodes special guest is Declan Byrnes, author of ‘Walking Miracle: A Fabrice Muamba Tale’.
Sometimes the clue really is in the title, this story sees Declan embody Fabrice Muamba who recently survived illness to be labelled a walking miracle. Out of a job and heartbroken after been forced to retire, Fabrice turns his focus to managing. Bournemouth pick up the young Rookie as Muamba’s journey begins in League One.
I never got the chance to reach the very top as a player, but I’ll be damned if I won’t as a manager.
Declan writes in diary form with fluid, swift paragraphs making the story very easy to read. The first season saw Bournemouth signing star strikers such as Le Fondre on loan from Reading and Findley from Nottm Forest, needless to say they finished top with ease as the Reading star bagged 42 goals in all competitions.
After using the diary style for his first season, Declan switched to a more conventional way of writing come the second season. Dropping the third person act and date related entries, Declan is now updating us on the game as opposed to Fabrice’s walk through life and management. Though this doesn’t take away from the story, the screenshots are crisp and the ride riveting.
After enjoying success in League One, Declan was faced with the task of building a better squad despite losing the influential Le Fondre who’s loan had ended. With an already wafer thin squad, the board weren’t too interested in offering a hand either as Bournemouth were lumped with a measly wage budget.
Nimely, Rivaldo and Lindpere were the genius bargain buys, while Declan was left to regret defensive acquisitions. Come Bournemouth’s first season back in the Championship scoring goals wasn’t the problem, but conceding them certainly was. It would seem the squad couldn’t cope with the rise in standard, to be expected when you are newly promoted.
After 27 games Bournemouth sit 17th on 30 points, winning 8, drawing 6 and losing 13. That is where the story ends for now, but what are Declan’s aspirations for this save and what can he accomplish? We’ll start answering that with an interview, Declan joined me for a short Q&A session.
Darren: You have done well so far, taking Bournemouth to the Championship, but what do you think will happen this season? You are in the bottom half, can you survive the drop?
Declan: Thanks, last season was really great and we dominated League 1. However, as you say we are struggling in the Championship this year and find ourselves in the bottom half. I do think, and hope, that we can keep out of the relegation zone, as I really need the chance to build on my squad for another Championship season.
Darren: What are your plans for the future, do you have a strategy in place to take Bournemouth to glory? Any transfer policies etc?
Declan: In terms of strategy early on, I really just look for the best players available for the right prices, not taking too much attention to age as the aim is to try and scale the leagues and get to the pot of gold at the end of the Premier League rainbow. However, I’m always on the look out for young stars and that is empitomized in the way I’m looking to develop my wonderkid Rob Dunkley. At just 16 my coaches already rate him as one of my best players and I think he is what is affectionately known as a “wonderkid striker”.
Darren: Are you open to leaving Bournemouth and if so what sort of club would have to come calling?
Declan: That’s a tough question. I feel that as long as Bournemouth are improving as a club and I am getting ‘fair’ resources to work with then I am happy to keep trying to move the club onwards and upwards. I’ve already turned down jobs at Championship rivals Hull and Stoke, so I suppose it would have to be a realistic step up. Maybe, if I felt that I couldn’t take Bournemouth any further, and a lower Premier League team came calling, then I’d have to think about it.
What I think will happen next
I think its fair to say Declan is a realist, he obviously understands the clubs stature could prevent a swift move through the leagues. With that in mind I’d expect him to stay with Bournemouth for at least a few more seasons. After making a few ‘smart buys’ already the Winter transfer window will be vital, I think further transfers are inevitable and could be the difference between a relegation battle or mid-table finish.
I expect Declan to keep Bournemouth in the Championship, then build on his squad for 2014/15. It is surprising the difference a few top signings can make, so I predict a push for the Championship play-offs in Declan’s third season. We could see Bournemouth in the EPL by 2016, from there it all comes down to the board, if they support Declan with funds then we could read a swansong, but if they don’t Declan’s interview suggests a change of scene.
‘Walking Miracle: A Fabrice Muamba Tale’ is very entertaining, Declan is a great manager but not one to win every single game (which lets face it, can make for a boring read.) To cap it all off Declan writes very well and never underestimates the value of keeping it simple, short and sweet. I seriously recommend you click the link above and enjoy the read.
As mentioned these ‘Best FM 2013 Stories’ articles will be a continuous feature, do you want your story included? We just look for well written threads that are easy to read with direction. Any stories with the potential to end early will not be selected so be sure to go past the three or four season mark my friends, until next time thanks for reading.