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Managing Newcastle: It can't be that hard

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Managing Newcastle United can't be that hard, so Alfie Crow takes the reigns in Football Manager 15 to see what he can do.

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With so much frustration surrounding Newcastle United under the reign of owner Mike Ashley, I thought it would be fun to do kind of an alternate reality version of events, based on what I would personally do within the confines of what Mike Ashley allows. Each week I'll bring some updates on how the season has gone and in order to ensure realism, we're going to be using Football Manager 2015 to detail these adventures and see if I will get sacked or head to cup glory.

nufcfm

To make this more of a challenge, I'm going to limit how I do some of my transfer doings. Since I'm still under the confines of Mike Ashley, I'm going to work under the budget given and I'm also going to sell players provided I get a healthy profit off of them. We'll say if I'm offered at least a 2.5x return on my purchase, I have to sell. I will also limit my purchases to players under 24 and I'll try to stick to some of the same areas that Graham Carr has been dabbling in, which means France, Spain, Holland and Germany.

Anyway, away we go.

First order of business is that unlike in real life, I'm able to wrap of a deal for midfielder Dele Alli, though I am loaning him back to MK Dons for the duration of the season so he at least will get game minutes. I've also added two youngsters in Spanish forward David Concha and defender Jorge Mere. If Newcastle is going to be a club that buys young, develops and flips, I need some talented young players to develop. For now, they'll live on my U21 squad.

kimmich

The big purchase we've made though is in the form of Joshua Kimmich, who can start in the midfield and also provide cover at the fullback positions if we want to be more attacking. He's one for the future, but he can come in as a substitute and play in the cups in the first season. He was also a bargain because his contract was expiring soon, which is totally the Newcastle way.

As far as outgoing dealings so far, I'm trying to shop Cheik Tiote but no one has seemed to come calling yet and I also sent Adam Campbell on loan (just like real life) to Oldham for the season. Other than that, we're heading right into training camp in Germany for some friendlies and I have two main tactics I plan on running for the year. One is a standard 4-1-4-1 that will probably be the bread and butter, but I also plan to experiment some with a 3-4-3 (sorta) for a more attacking look.

tactics

The first friendly looked like it could be a disaster at the start, with Frankfurt dominating possession and getting a few dangerous runs, then thanks to a mistake by Fabricio Coloccini they slipped a shot in past Tim Krul to take a lead. After a stern team talk and adjusting some instructions, we started to take the game over and leveled on a penalty kick and a beautiful cross from Yoan Gouffran to Remy Cabella to take the 2-1 lead and finish out the match.

preseason1

The rest of training camp was a great success with some class performances by Papiss Cisse, Ayoze Perez and even new loanee Facundo Ferreyra. We also experimented some with Daryl Janmaat in a deep midfielder role, kind of like Daley Blind at Manchester United. All in all the first four matches were a rousing success and the second is ready to get the season started and head to Gateshead for a friendly.

preseason

We'll check back in with Newcastle next week and see how the rest of the preseason went about.