Alternate reality in Football Manager: Serbia & the Adriatic

I remember being introduced to Football Manager as a kid. A spreadsheet game that let you manage a football team, and yet I couldn’t have been happier to find it. Over the years, I learned about many aspects of the sport through this incredibly detailed game. Whether it was tactics, player roles or even the players themselves. Following FM wonder kids in real life was always interesting, even when they failed to live up to their digital potential. But nowadays, sadly, I have less time to spend on Football Manager. I do however like to fiddle with the editor. It’s very a handy tool for keeping scouting reports, and it allows you to create alternate realities within the football world. One of them I present to you today: a revamped Serbian league system, complete with an Adriatic Cup. 

Confusing set-up

When it comes to Serbian football, you often hear suggestions about optimizing the format. Fewer teams will improve quality as you’ll play better opposition more frequently. Because right now, Serbia has a very confusing league system. It’s a 16 team league that splits into two halves after the regular 30 games. Sounds OK right? After the split, the top 8 (and bottom 8) play each other one more time. This means that some teams have 2 home games against others, while others have just 1. The total number of league games is intense as well, as they end up playing 37 of them. Way too many, in my opinion. 

So what’s the solution

You typically hear suggestions about a 10-team league. While that could work, a regular season with a 5 team split would lead to 26 games total. (2×9=18 regular games & 2×4=8 playoff games). Not enough clearly. Playing each team 4 times could also be an option, but then you’d be back to 36 games total (4×9). 

The best option

My solution instead is a 12-team league with a split. That way, teams play each other twice during the regular season, amounting to 22 games, and they add 10 more after the split, making it 32 total. Plenty of quality games, for instance four eternal derbies (Crvena zvezda-Partizan), but in a condensed 32 game format. With a (current) maximum of 4 European spots and 3 relegation places, there is plenty to play for.

Summarized:

  • 36 professional sides total, considering historical value and the size of the city or town they represent
  • Spread over 3 divisions, containing 12 teams per division
  • Teams play each other twice and twice more after the split (top 6 & bottom 6) for 32 games total
  • There are 3 relegation spots in the first 2 divisions and none in the third, as it’s a closed system
  • Red Star & Partizan both have B-teams within the system, Grafičar & Teleoptik, which can’t be promoted to the Superleague

Deadline day & other features

One of the best things Football Manager added this year was deadline day immersion, similar to the one we see in real life with journalists like Fabrizio Romano. There’s only one thing, though: it’s not available in many leagues, including the Serbian one. I fixed that with this file, for the top 2 divisions. I also created a 2-division U19 league, added all awards, a Super Cup and added the missing nicknames for Serbian sides.

Summarized:

  • Deadline day immersion activated for the top 2 divisions
  • Two separate U19 leagues, first and second division with awards
  • All awards in general are present, for the second division and Adriatic Cup as well
  • Prize money has been adjusted to the new system
  • I also introduced a Super Cup
  • Added nicknames to the clubs missing them

Three challenges I suggest:

OFK Beograd

I wrote about them here. Bringing this historic club back to the highest level, while rebuilding the club’s youth academy, should be the goal. A side that beat teams like Juventus, Feyenoord and Dukla Prague in the past, but has fallen on hard times in recent years.

FK Trepča

A team that was literally split in half after the war in 1999. There is an Albanian version and the old Serbian Trepča, a second division side in real life and in my version as well. If you’re looking for a true underdog, look no further. 

The rise of the south

Just like in Italy, the southern part of Serbia is economically worse off compared to Belgrade and the north, but the passion for football is tremendous there. It’s a region that has produced many great players, including one of the greatest Serbian players of all-time, current national team coach: Dragan Stojković. Technically Trepča also fall under this category, but I suggest sides like Radnički Niš, Radnik Surdulica, Dubočica, Dinamo Vranje & Radnički Pirot. They all represent different challenge levels, as Radnički Niš for instance are a top level side, while some others are all the way down in the second division.

Download links below: 

Revamped Serbian league

The Adriatic Cup

 

Step-by-step instructions:

  • Download the files
  • Put them in the Football Manager directory, under editor data
  • When starting a new game, the files should be activated in the top right corner under Database: Football Manager 2022
  • Select advanced setup to load the database and pick your leagues

And last but not least, the Adriatic Cup

What fun is it to dominate the Serbian league without having the chance to play our neighbours? Since schedules are pretty packed as things stand, I created a cup that takes place during the winter break. The top 2 sides from Croatia and Serbia, join up with the champions from Bosnia, Montenegro, North-Macedonia & Slovenia in an 8-team knock-out tournament. Three rounds with a maximum of 6 games total (3 times home and away). If people are interested in different formats, I can provide those later as well. 

Let me know what you think

You can download both files. They have been tested and should work fine. If you have any issues, let me know, and I’ll see what I can do for you.

Enjoy and let me know what you think about it on Twitter! 

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