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.
This week its the turn of long time LLM player and Aston Villa fan keefa
1. What inspired you to play the LLM way?
Back when I first played ChampMan '93 I always started as Villa, but because the players I loved in real life weren't very good in the game I never liked playing as my team, and so started by being in charge of one of my local clubs.
At the time the game only went down to division 4, so I had a choice of Chester, Crewe, Shrewsbury or Wrexham and I knew a few of the players at each club, but not enough for it to ruin my save if I had to move them on.
I actually became a fully fledged LLaMa in 2006, when I stumbled across the LLM section at FM-Britain.
I had been playing the game as League Two/Conference Premier clubs and aiming for realism, so when I read the guidelines it made even more sense to start at the very bottom, and also to start using my tactics alone, rather than seeing what others had posted or advised online.
2. What about the LLM ethos appeals to you the most?
For me it's the sense of achievement that you get when you have a period of a save where things click, and are going well. The fact it is all your own work makes all the struggles worthwhile (almost!).
3. Are there any extra “rules” that you give to yourself for added realism?
Not really, although I try and avoid revolving door policies with players and staff members. I give everyone a chance to prove they belong at a club when I take over, and only really make wholesale signings if I have a threadbare squad.
4. What makes the LLM community so great?
We look out for each other.
If somebody does well we congratulate them, and likewise if they're having a bad time we encourage them to keep their chin up and keep battling away.
5. The landscape of Football Manager has changed a lot over the years is there still a place for LLM?
Yes, there definitely is.
I see a lot on social media about how the game is too easy, but if you play abiding by the LLM guidelines, then I am convinced you would find the game much more challenging.
It's all about how much you want a challenge rather than just to play "fantasy football" and win trophies.
6. For a new player maybe looking to dip their toes into the world of LLM what would your advice be?
80% of your time as a LLaMa will be as frustrating as hell, with only a small amount of well earned and well deserved good times.
When things are going badly, remember that the in-game time is so condensed that it might be worth taking a little break here and there to prevent you smashing up your laptop or monitor.
Look for the small victories (that might not even be a match win!) and set yourself long term goals that you can judge your progress by. The game of course helps with this now with the Club Vision, and that can always be a good way to remind yourself not to get too carried away.
Also, don't view LLM as a challenge.
It is a mindset, an ethos and a way of playing the game every time, not just when you feel like it. You either are a LLaMa or you are not. You are not sometimes a LLaMa.
Road to glory saves are not LLM as the aim of the game is realism. If you get a job offer at a bigger club, even if it's a sideways or backwards step on the face of it, it is the sort of opportunity a real life manager is unlikely to turn down.
Ultimately though, it is your game, so play it the way you want to.
7. What is your favourite nation to manage in and why?
I still love managing in England.
Despite playing the game for nearly 30 years (oh crap, am I that old? Sad ), and managing in England for the majority of the time, the fact we are fortunate enough to have 6 tiers in the game out of the box means that there is still a lot of variety to the clubs I get to mis-manage along the way.
8. What nations do you avoid and why?
I wouldn't say I avoid any nations, but I certainly wouldn't start in any where I feel the lowest playable level available in the game is too high for an unproven manager/ex-player to start.
For example I would never start in the A-League or MLS.
9. Who are you currently managing and how is it going?
I've not played the game for a couple of months now, but I was managing Clube Oriental de Lisboa in Portugal, before being sacked after a terrible run of defeats in my first season.
I then got a new job in the same division, but can't remember their name and haven't even played a game as their manager yet!