LLaMa Save Suggestions

From clubs in financial trouble to fallen giants, every club has a story to tell and here the Yellow Llama unearths his favourites

Valentines Special

"LLaMa's don't do challenges, but sometimes they need a push in the right direction"


-Ancient LLaMa proverb

Dearest Llamas,

I'm sorry I haven't written in so long. Things have been.... weird.... since Christmas Eve. I am halfway through writing to you to explain all, but things are a little hazy.

In a nutshell, I was at the ambassador's annual shindig and I'm pretty sure that somebody spiked my Ferrero Rocher.

I've pretty much levelled out now, but some things happened which have resulted in me deciding that it's probably in my best interests to not stay in one place for too long. I plan on staying out of Europe for some time, in fact.

Anyway, today I find myself in Indonesia. I am laying low for a while, so I've not yet been able to take in their lower league football, but I am hoping to get out and about soon.

Jumping from airport to airport to throw spirit llamas off my tail (look, I'll explain later, ok??), I noticed that the duty free was full of Valentine's gifts.

Now as you all know, I've not really had relations since Julia. It was all too traumatic. 27 years is a long time and I've been running from it ever since, if I'm honest.

I've done some reflecting and in between flights, had a bit of time to revisit some of the places we saw whilst she was in between filming. And in doing so, I have some LLaMa save suggestions to share based on the thing that makes the world go round.

By which I mean love. Not inertia.

Young Llama Suggestion:

Club: Philadelphia Union

City: Philadelphia

Media Prediction: 4nd (Conference), 7th Overall

Why Them?: Ah those heady days when we first met, and our first Christmas together was spent in the City of Brotherly Love. There was nothing "brotherly" about our love that festive season, I can assure you. And whilst it was our first holiday together, it took a nasty turn on Christmas morning.

Julia was on top of the world having just done that movie named after the Roy Orbison song - Penny Arcade or Working for The Man, can't remember which (memory still not right after the Rocher incident). It was the second highest grossing box office smash that year. Then, Christmas morning, she got the call. Bumped down to the third highest grossing film of the year thanks to Home Alone. She was inconsolable.

I know, because I tried. I did present to her the cold hard truth that her movie had been devoid of booby traps and that the scene in which Mrs McAllister is stuck in the back of a hire van with John Candy's polka band was worth the Oscar on it's own. She disagreed. We agreed to disagree. At a distance of about 8,500 miles.

Julia spent new year in the Maldives leaving me to kick around Philadelphia.

Subaru Park


Which brings me to the football. Pre-'94 World Cup, there was pretty much nothing. The MLS was formed in 1993, but Philadelphia Union didn't join until 2010. Of course, the thing that puts most of us Llamas off the MLS is that it is a single tier league with no promotion or relegation. As the Anonymous Llama is yet to authorise an expansion league to allow us to play as lower level clubs, it's MLS or nothing I'm afraid. And nothing would be a shame, because there is still stories to be written and history to be made.

The structure of the MLS is quite different to anything else in top level football, and certainly owes more to the way US sport is arranged than European "soccer". It's divided into regionalised conferences, with a number of clubs from each conference entering a play off system to decide the MLS Cup Champions, a bit like the Spanish lower leagues. Union play in the Eastern Conference and in fact, won it in 2020. Indeed, if the MLS had been a single, combined league, they would have won the whole lot because they achieved more points than anyone else overall meaning they won the Supporters Shield for the first time in their history. They then lost 2-0 to New England Revolution in the first round of the playoffs.

The great thing about this is that, in FM terms, this never happened. The FM MLS season begins at the start of the 2020 season - can you, young Llama, emulate Union's Supporters' Shield victory and then go one better and bring home their first MLS Cup?

Probably not.

But good luck, young Llama!

Things to do when you are inevitably left alone in the city to consider both your life and movie choices:

I bet you thought I was going to say you should see the liberty bell or run up and down those steps recreating the scene from Rocky, didn't you? No chance.

That is the Philadelphia equivalent of starting a save with Liverpool. Instead, go and look at Einstein's brain. Yes, his actual brain (well, 46 small parts of it set within microscopic slides) are on display at Philadelphia's Mütter Museum.

Clever bloke, that Einstein. I have no doubt that if it were him and not Julia that I had shacked up with, he would have been in full agreement about the brilliance of the knee slide Kevin does across the ice allowing him to nutmeg an ill-fated policeman as if he were a human football, resulting in ownership of a free toothbrush that may or may not have been recommended by the American Dental Association.

Einstein: loved a tactics board

Old Llama Suggestion:

Club: Guillermo Brown (PM)

City: Puerto Madryn - Argentina

Media Prediction: 16th (Out of 16) in Argentina Primera B Group B

Why Them?: Julia was on top of the world. Her career had really taken off and, 10 years after Philadelphia, we decided to spend Valentine's weekend in Latin America. Argentina to be precise. After days in the sun, enjoying the Buenos Aires party scene, drinking wine and dancing that most passionate of dances all night and most days (the Argentine Tango - get your minds out of the gutter), we were on top of the world. Julia had put in what was considered her greatest performance as an activist taking on big industry, and this was going down well. Oscars were expected, and all was perfect. Until we had a slight disagreement about the content of the movie.

Now it's not that I said I was in support of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company specifically, just that I wasn't convinced that poisoning the water was that bad from a Llama perspective as it would likely speed up the demise of humanity which would in turn accelerate the inevitable day that will see the Llama installed at the top of the food chain. Julia then pointed out that she was, in fact, human, and made quite clear that she wasn't impressed with my views, or that I really didn't like the film. I tried to change the subject by mentioning the fact that Home Alone 4 had just started filming, but for some reason that just made things worse.

So we agreed to disagree. At a distance of about 8,500 miles.

Julia enjoyed spring in St Petersburg whereas I ended up watching Guillermo Brown (PM) in Puerto Madryn rather than Almirante Brown who play in Buenos Aires due to a mix-up with a rickshaw driver who just kept pedalling for 800 miles and was wearing a Sony Discman playing the Evita Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on a loop and therefore couldn't be set right.

Instead of spending an afternoon watching football before continuing to enjoy vibrant Buenos Aires, I was stuck for a fair few weeks in Patagonia, and in a place where literally nothing seemed to happen. Except nature. And as a llama, I'm over that.

The team was awful then and is only slightly less awful now. They have never won anything. Or done anything, except play in low level regional leagues for most of their 75 year existence. They've never played at the top level (and let's be honest, if we have anything to do with it, that's unlikely to change).

They've got a balance of £0. Named after either the famed Irish born Argentine General who fought in wars against Spain and Brazil or the 45 year old American music performer otherwise known as "Pegasus Warning" (thank you Wikipedia) their only achievement of note in their entire history is that they once drew a match with River Plate.

They play in Group B of the second tier and are expected to come bottom. Their odds of winning the title are 7,000/1. I mean, I have yet to tour the entire world, but I would be shocked if there was another team with odds anywhere near that long. And they really aren't very good. Did I mention that?

And just to round off a crap February 2000, Julia ended up winning the bloody Oscar.

Good luck, old Llama!

Things to do when you are inevitably left alone in the city to consider both your life and movie choices:

Nothing really happens here. Not since the Falklands War, anyway. I mean you might see penguins and elephant seals, but there are zoos for that.

I did visit a local town called Gaiman which features a giant teapot with a Welsh dragon on it as its main tourist attraction. Make of that what you will. Or just get the hell out of there, that's what I did.

LLaMa's don't do tips. Not even PG ones.

Random Llama Suggestion which has taken into account lots of specific factors:

Club: Albion Rovers

City: Coatbridge - Scotland

Media Prediction: 9th (Out of 10) - League 2

Cliftonhill Stadium, Coatbridge

Why them:

Well, as you know, I always have myriad (one) thing(s) to consider for this suggestion, and the theme of the day meant I also had to chuck an extra factor into the mix and consider places I'd been with Julia.

Although Julia has of course never set foot in Coatbridge. She doesn't like coats (prefers cardigans) or bridges (prefers to swim) so she would hate it there. I kind of ended up there on my own having agreed to disagree about something. We had spent a lovely few days in Edinburgh seeing the sights and were on our way to Glasgow on the train to do the same. I had refused to be drawn on her new film, a sequel to a crime romp with an ensemble cast of 12 but she wouldn't leave it alone. The scene she was most proud of was without a doubt by far the worst, because she was playing a character who needed to cause a distraction and thus pretended to be Julia.

Yep - Julia, pretending to be a third party who then pretends to be Julia.

I think it was supposed to be meta, but just came across as naff. And, as the train neared Glasgow and stopped a while near Coatbridge due to haggis on the track (or something), I told her what I thought. Unlike the other times where this had happened, Julia was fine with it, and rather than argue she offered to give me something called a "Glasgow Kiss". Intrigued, I accepted and puckered up, but she must have slipped because her head connected with my snout, the doors flew open and I ended up on a grass bank outside. In an attempt to raise the alarm, Julia locked the door as swore at me. It was quite unfortunate.

Anyway, Julia spent the next month or so approximately 8,500 miles away enjoying the sights and sounds of Papua New Guinea, whereas I was left to enjoy the sights and sounds of Coatbridge, which I imagine is quite a different experience.

Albion Rovers are a great team for a one club llama save because they are a real blank slate history wise. They also have a single red rose on their badge which is nice. Journey Llamas will love them too for a few reasons. Firstly, Coatbridge is just on the outskirts of Glasgow, where of course there are two massive clubs to aspire to.

There are other much bigger local clubs too, like Partick, St. Mirren, Hamilton and Motherwell allowing you to stay local and better yourself over the seasons. Not only that, but the big Edinburgh clubs are only 50 or so miles away so there is loads of scope.

Last season Albion came second bottom of the Scottish fourth tier and are expected to do much the same this season, but to be honest there is very little between 7 of the 10 teams at this level, so it could go either way.

I always think Scotland allows for something a bit different too because teams play each other at least four times a season (often more as there are three cups to play in too) which means you can really get to know each opponent - great for supplementing your no doubt dog awful scouts and nicking slightly better players from regular opponents.

Albion haven't been higher than the bottom two divisions in Scotland in 30 years and have come second bottom the last two seasons. They are expected to do little other than not be relegated for the foreseeable, and have no money, no facilities to speak of, and a stadium that holds about the same amount of people as the Virgin Pendolino that led me to them. Don't worry though, you'll never fill it with all those bigger clubs around unless you actually achieve something special.

Which is unlikely.

Oh and their kit has been styled over the years to look like a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer wrapper. On purpose.

Good Luck, random Llama!

The Tunnock's Wafer queue, earlier.

Things to do when you are inevitably left alone in the city to consider both your life and movie choices:

Take up a new sport at the Golf Asylum, which seems to exist solely on the basis that the weather is so poor that you can rarely play outside.

TripAdvisor makes clear that Bobby is the go-to man to assist with your driving and putting, but that the lady who runs the snack bar is slower than your entire defence were to react that fateful day when Stranraer's wingers ripped you to shreds for the fourth time last season.

Bobby. A professional. Unlike you.

The Yellow Llama's Legendary Twisted Suggestion

Background: And now to 2017, where things well and truly fell apart. There we were, in the most romantic city in the world, having spent a long autumn weekend drinking wine, looking at the Eiffel Tower and repeatedly having to dry off having swum across the Seine due to the aforementioned bridge issue. Julia's career was finally winding down and I was thrilled. We would finally be able to spend some quality time together without having to constantly revisit her many failures and bad decisions. In fact, I had been genuinely in awe of her latest role and had told her so constantly.

She considered it a bit of a step down, but she was fantastic.

I don't know how she did it, and of course it was only her voice that she lent to the part, but I felt like she WAS Smurfwillow. In the very least, she would no longer have to live in the shadow of Culkin. More Oscars were surely incoming.

Then, as we sat down for dinner on our final night, she told me she loved Papa Smurf. I agreed, his character in the movie had been written with aplomb and voice acted to a fantastic standard. I am actually torn between him and Don Corleone as my favourite movie patriarch of all time. But then she dropped the bombshell. She was IN LOVE with Papa Smurf.

Now this confused me initially as he had been voiced by a lady and I wasn't aware that Julia had an incline in that direction. Julia explained that it wasn't the voice actor she meant, but actual Papa Smurf. I told her that this was problematic for a number of reasons, the main one being that he was a fictional, animated character who was not only very short (approx 5'6" maybe?) but didn't actually exist. He is also 543 years old.

I then attempted to change the subject & suggest we share the "trio of deserts", but apparently that isn't what a "Menage A Trois" is and she stormed out. I haven't seen her since.

Anyway, a team from Paris has never won the Champions League. PSG probably will eventually, so you would have to be quite quick and lucky if a llama challenged you to do it on Football Manager. Which is what I am doing. However, to passive aggressively hit out at my former love, I require you to do so with a twist. You need to win the Champions League with a squad whose average height is 5'6" or less.

Now this might sound quite straightforward but your goalkeepers are going to be a bit of a problem and will drag your average up considerably. Your short defenders are likely to give you a headache and the standard llama tactic of smashing long balls up to a tall bloke are not going to work. I love this twist, because it is going to be difficult.

That'll learn you, Julia.

Please don't attempt this - at this point I think the yellow Llama has gone a bit nuts due to being jilted and has forgotten the realism required in the LLM Guidelines - ed

Club: Créteil

City: Paris (France)

Media Prediction: 9th

Why Them?: There are two Paris clubs at the lowest playable level, and of the two, Créteil are the least good. They have never played in the top flight and there is history to be made.

They have a Portuguese ownership and backroom team, so if you fancy adding a bit of an extra layer of difficulty and going Portuguese players only then you have a good excuse for doing so.

They start in an average position money, facilities & height wise for their division and as Paris doesn't have a particularly high concentration of teams like say, London, there is potential to grow. They also play in blue, which is the colour of Smurfs.

Good Luck, Legendary, Twisted Llama!

Things to do when you are inevitably left alone in the city to consider both your life and movie choices:

I mean, it's Paris. There is loads to do. It is worth pointing out though that Brussels is a mere 4 hours away by train.

Brussels has a Smurfs Megastore and Smurf statue in the middle of it. It would be a shame if a llama suddenly appeared, shouted obscenities, kicked children and wrote "Julia" all over the place using dung. A real shame.

He would probably end up being caught in a net and then tried in a court of law for his crimes, so it would be wrong of me to recommend that....

Anyway, I've just remembered I've left the oven on.... Will write soon.

Not taking the break up well


Still fancy The USA, Argentina, Scotland or France but aren't convinced by any of the above suggestions?

Ask the Yellow Llama to pick you a random side


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