Post by Reiver on May 13, 2020 15:42:15 GMT
I've been playing FM and it's previous iterations for 20 years. I'm senior enough that I remember signing Tó Madeira and Maxim Tsigalko in my saves. I'm also a fan of the oddities and the different, and if it wasn't for the coming of the modern editor, I probably would have lost interest in this game a while ago. The editor created a whole new world of opportunity - now I could play in San Marino, or I could take a Liechstensteiner team up from the lower levels of Swiss football, trying to win the World Cup with Albania, or even create a brand new nation a see how well they could do. It was when I first tried to play a game creating a new nation that I first played a FM game in Tyrol, and for some reason the football teams in the area (and the amazing beauty of the area) stuck to me, and I have followed the football in that area ever since.
FC Obermais is the perfect team to do what I want in this save. A late arrival to the game of football, they were only formed in 1972, the local team of the Obermais neighbourhood in Meran. Just next year they would play in the leagues for the very first time in the lowest possible tier, the 3.Amateurliga, at the time 7 levels before the top division. And it stayed mostly in the lower echelons of football for a long part of their career, until 2001.
That year, the board and then manager Martin Klotzner developed a plan for Obermais to consistently grow with good foundations and without forgetting its roots. And it worked. At the time the team played in the 1.Amateurliga, at the time the 8th tier. 2001/02 saw them finish 10th. Then 7th, then 2nd, then 1st and promotion to the Landesliga, which they won in their first year, followed by mostly consistent top results at the Oberliga (the highest amateur football level, and where some teams with money and prestige sometimes appear): 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 11th, 4th, a few years not as good where they went back down to the Landesliga, but they quickly bounced up and just 3 years after getting promoted from the Landesliga to the Oberliga, they are losing their promotion shot at the semi-pro level outside the football field - more to that in a minute.
If this team were a German team, they would for sure be what they call a Kult team - despite speaking German they are not.. Despite originally being the team from a small neighbourhood of Meran, they draw the biggest crowds of all Tyrolean amateur football, even rivaling the ones of FC Südtirol. How many teams playing in amateur leagues, in stadiums that don't even have proper stands boast to have 3 different tiffosi groups? How many teams can boast to have had their first tiffosi group founded when they played in the 7th tier of football of their country?
All because of the team's philosophy of growth. Play attractive football and don't try to overstep. Keep the same players that played in the lower leagues and improve the training, the dilligence and the commitment. Refusing to sell the soul of the team for footballing progress - in their own words: "The core of the FC Obermais team is formed by local players. The "foreigners" do not come from Milan, at most [they come] from Bozen, from Passeier, from Lana, from Ulten [other Tyrolean towns]." Their progress plan, which they write about in their website that if they do get promoted to the next level, they would perhaps hire 3 to 4 players to complement the team, but the core would always be made up of local players, and always looking after their youngsters, and should the team go back down, they would keep the players too.
And they've nearly done it. In 2018/19, the team finished second in the league, meaning they would go to the playoffs to fight for promotion. After their supporters' bus got attacked before their away game, they protested saying they wouldn't endanger their fans and lost their promotion chances when they walked out of the game. It takes a lot of integrity to take that kind of stand nowadays. And so, one more year without promotion to Serie D.
Wait, Serie D? Yes, despite me doing this write up with the competition names in German, FC Obermais plays in the Italian leagues, because South Tyrol, despite being a german speaking majority region is nowadays part of Italy. Where you read 3.Amateurliga, you could also read Terza Categoria; 1.Amateurliga is Prima Categoria, Landesliga is Promozione and Oberliga is Eccellenza. South Tyrol has a professional team that despite having great facilities, hasn't captivated the south tyrolean people - the italian speaking people, mostly internal immigrants (or descendants) root for the teams they already rooted for before, and they failed to catch the attention of the german speaking people by not focusing on the local talent (their whole first team squad only has 3 players from the region). We aim to follow the philosophy of the team in real life by limiting our transfers to players from the South Tyrol at first, and even as we go up the leagues to players from Tyrol as a whole, Austrian and Italian side, a kind of cantera in the Alps.