A series of question and answer sessions with LLM community regulars where they give an insight into what the LLaMa way of playing Football Manager means to them. 

First up is Australian sand-groping LLaMa and hiking enthusiast f1dave


1. What inspired you to play the LLM way?

When I first started playing the CM/FM series I found it way too hard; the sliders, the arrows, the buttons, the overwhelming amount of stats. I abandoned it. Then later I came back, found a couple of tactics on forums, and to quote the joke, was able to do everything but win the Champions League as River Plate, it was so easy. 

I wanted to play the way I like playing – starting at the bottom and working my way up – but with more challenge than I was getting from the “normal” game. Then I found the LLM subforum on SI, and… well, the rest is history.

2. What about the LLM ethos appeals to you the most?

It’s the added challenge; but it’s also the storied aspect to it. 

This is what happens in the real world; if you read books like Pointless or The Far Corner you know there’s a certain magic to these absolutely shit clubs with shit players, where surviving (or even getting a win) is celebrated like a world cup. I love being a part of that, even virtually.

3. Are there any extra “rules” that you give to yourself for added realism?

If I’m in a sh*t league – and I mean a really sh*t league – I make sure that I recruit locally.

People will move from Newcastle to Kent for a League Two contract – hell, probably even a Conference Premier contract. But nobody’s going to uproot their world in Glasgow to join your JD Cymru South side.

4. What makes the LLM community so great?

The sense of humour and perseverance that people need to have when slogging their way through the worst teams and leagues in existence; and the shared triumph of finally achieving their goal after starting so low. 

It’s a real community feel and shared passion for the game.

5. The landscape of Football Manager has changed a lot over the years is there still a place for LLM?

Yeah, absolutely. 

Things are definitely geared towards managing the premier teams across the globe – what with the players’ personalities and the overwhelming amount of press (seriously, I am not going to be interviewed twice a week in the streets of Portstewart about what I think of the chances of the opposition or the World Player of the Year) but I think you can move past a lot of this and still have a really great LLM game.

6. For a new player maybe looking to dip their toes into the world of LLM what would your advice be?

Don’t start somewhere you’re attached to! 

Throw a dart at the wall – or use the LLMPicker – and find a new place you haven’t been to as a starting point. This makes the inevitable suffering easier to take!

7. What is your favourite nation to manage in and why?

Let’s face it, the UK is really the ‘home’ of LLM because all of the nations there are covered so well in terms of depth that it really makes the lower leagues feel more realistic and rich. 

But if I pick outside of that, I’ve always enjoyed saves in central Europe – had a lot of fun with places like Czech Republic, Croatia and Slovakia. 

There’s some excellent LLM fare to be had there.

8. What nations do you avoid and why?

The MLS isn’t my cup of tea. I guess I’d treat it how I treat the A-League; if I get some success then perhaps I’ll look to join those leagues, but I’ll never start there. 

I had some game-breaking experiences in the lowest league of Portugal when I applied my geography rule so I probably avoid that too.

9. Who are you currently managing and how is it going?

Currently I’m taking a break, as life was needing a bit more attention than FM at home and work. 

But I had been playing in Wales, and pretty well. I’d taken Caernarfon out of the Welsh North and into the Welsh Premier, and over many years worked them into regular early stage Europa Qualifying losers. TNS are still the biggest bunch of pr*cks going around, though.

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