10. Climb the Football League pyramid with Salford City
These are heady times at Salford City. The Ammies have been promoted three times in the last four years, are bankrolled by a Singapore billionaire and a bunch of Manchester United legends, and Adam Rooney is banging them in like namesake Wayne during his heyday.
Flying high in the National League, Salford have their sights set on title success this year. With the kind of financial backing that makes Scrooge McDuck look skint, don’t bet against them making it four in five on the promotion front.
Coaching Salford on Football Manager 2019 is like playing Donkey Kong – it’s a case of ‘how high can you climb?’ Promotion in season one will be a doddle for FM veterans, but breaking into the Football League’s upper echelons – and maybe even the dizzying heights of the Premier League – will really test your managerial mettle.
9. ‘Do a Leicester’ with Kilmarnock
Trying to knock the mighty Celtic off their green-and-white perch with teams like Rangers or Aberdeen is a popular challenge among Football Manager fans, but here’s the hardcore version: turning humble Kilmarnock into Scotland’s answer to Leicester 2015/16.
Steve Clarke has done a fantastic job at Killie this season, and when he guided them to the top of the table (albeit with the Old Firm having games in hand) for a short time in early December, some dared to ask whether a true underdog story north of the border was about to unfold.
In truth, the Kilmarnock fairytale is unlikely to have such a far-fetched ending, but Football Manager 2019 experts have been known to pull off more miraculous feats than this. If you play the long game, invest smartly and carefully nurture those academy gems, who knows what you could accomplish with Killie in the coming years.
8. Make Barry Town dominant again
During the early 1990s, Barry Town enjoyed a period of dominance in Welsh football. They became the League of Wales’ first fully professional club, ate domestic trophies for breakfast and even pulled off a few historic victories in Europe, before a period of drawn-out financial turmoil slammed the breaks on their runaway success.
Since being reborn as the supporter-run Barry Town United FC, the Jenner Park outfit have clawed their way back into the Welsh top flight – not bad for a team which basically ceased to exist at one point – but the domination of the mid-90s still feels like a distant memory.
There’s a good reason why recapturing Barry’s glory days of domestic trebles is a tall order on Football Manager 2019 – it’s called The New Saints. The Oswestry side are the latest shark to stalk Welsh football’s goldfish bowl; overthrowing them with a side that was fighting a legal battle for the right to play competitive football only a few years ago is a test that will really separate the men from the boys.
7. Make 1860 Munich a match for Bayern
Life is tough when your local rivals are winning everything and you just keep slipping further along a downward spiral. No, we’re not talking about Manchester United – 1860 Munich supporters could teach the Red Devils a thing or two about living in a neighbour’s shadow.
They have a fan base to rival most sides in the Bundesliga and were in the Champions League as recently as 2001, but these days die Lowen are plying their trade in 3. Liga, the third tier of German football.
With historic clubs like Kaiserslautern, Karlsruher SC and Hansa Rostock to compete with, you’re likely to find things hard going in your first season in charge. While promotion is more than doable, it’s sure to be a long journey back to the upper reaches of the German football – and that’s when the really hard work will begin. How many campaigns will it take you to make 1860 any kind of match for Bayern?
6. Win a domestic cup with Wigan
If Roberto Martinez can do it, surely you can make a decent fist of it on FM19? Wigan fans will never forget 11 May 2013, the day they toppled Manchester City at Wembley to bring home the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
Just getting the Latics back into the top flight would be no mean feat considering their budget is nothing to write home about compared to the Championship’s big boys. A shock promotion isn’t completely out of the question, though: there’s a solid midfield to work with, featuring Josh Windass and Portugal youth international Leonardo Lopes, while striker Will Grigg is *checks thermometer* very much on fire.
Pulling off another unlikely cup triumph to emulate the class of 2013 can be your long-term goal with Wigan – bonus points if you manage to avoid relegation in the same season.