KINGSMEN – INTRO

FM23 is here and I’m back blogging – it’s good to be writing again, FM22 never really got off the ground for me due to a lot of different reasons in home and work life. With that being said, I have a save idea I’m really excited about for this edition of the game and I’m looking forward to sharing my save updates with you all. Let’s get into it…

For this save I am heading over to The Netherlands, to manage Willem II a team that is something of a fallen giant in Dutch football. I will be in the city of Tilburg in the Noord-Brabant province in the south of the country as you can see on the map below.

King William II (1792-1849) was incredibly fond of the city, he publicly stated it is where he felt happiest. As a consequence of his love for the place, Tilburg thrived under his reign as money was always made available for new infrastructure, farms and jobs and he even commissioned a new palace to be built which he would use as his country residence. The local football club was established on 12 August 1896 as Tilburgia, however two years later the club was renamed after the King who had shared such a passion for the city and its people. From that day forward, the club became known as Willem II.

Willem II are a well known Dutch football club who have enjoyed some success on the domestic stage many years ago. The club has won the Eredivisie three times in its history, 1915-16, 1951-52 and 1954-55. The first of those titles saw the team go unbeaten throughout the league season, finishing with a goal difference of 50. The Tricolores also have won two domestic cups in their time (1944 and ’63), the latter was the same year they made their European competition debut, losing to Manchester United in the first round of the UEFA Cup Winners Cup.

Willem II vs Manchester United 1963

The club play their home games at the 14,700 capacity Koning Willem II Stadion (King William II Stadium). Willem II has been something of a football factory in terms of talented young players who have either come through the youth system or were brought in to earn their stripes and gain some key experience of first team football. Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk spent time in the Willem II youth system before moving on to Groningen. Sami Hyypia, another former Liverpool man, is a firm fan favourite at the club as he made over 100 appearances in Willem colours and captained the side to Champions League qualification. Swedish starlet Alexander Isak enjoyed a career defining loan spell with the club in 2018-19 as he found his goalscoring touch and fired in 13 goals from 16 appearances. Other well known players who have stepped out in the Tricolores include perpetual Man Utd target Frenkie de Jong, Jaap Stam, Marc Overmars and Earnie Stewart.

Willem II didn’t enjoy the 2021/22 campaign as they were relegated from the Eredivisie and therefore begin the 2022/23 season in the Eerste Division. That is where we find them at the beginning of this FM23 save. As many of us know there is a lack of registration rules within Dutch football meaning you have the freedom to sign as many South American wonderkids as you like. I’ve decided to deny myself this luxury and impose a homegrown only rule for this save meaning we can only sign players with a Dutch passport (if any of those wonderkids want to suddenly discover Dutch grandparents that would be much appreciated). The team I initially inherit will not solely comprise of Dutch players so some players will need to be shipped out so I am going to say that by 2025 (2 years in to the save) I would like to have sold or released any players who don’t fit the criteria of the save.

In the long term I would like to go on to make Willem II the dominant force within Dutch football, Ajax have had their fun! Of course we will need to become the ‘best of the rest’ beforehand but it’s nice to be able to dream. Before any of this can happen of course, we need to get promoted back to the Eredivisie, that is the aim for the opening season.

The plan for this save:

  • Sign Dutch players only
  • Sign Dutch backroom staff
  • Overthrow Ajax as the dominant force in The Netherlands
  • Have three newgens capped at international level
  • Win a European trophy
  • Successfully implement chosen tactical style

The 2022/23 Willem II Squad:

Goalkeepers: Konstantinos Lamprou (31)*, Joshua Smits (30), Connor van den Berg (21).

Defenders: Wessel Dammers (27), Erik Schouten (31), Freek Heerkens (33), Lucas Woudenberg (28), Thibaut Lesquoy (27)*, Sam Tel (20), Leeroy Owusu (26).

Midfielders: Pol Llonch (30)*, Jesse Bosch (22), Matthias Verreth (24)*, Wesley Spieringhs (20), Dani Mathieu (21), Dan Crowley (25)*, Thijs Oosting (22), Ringo Meerveld (19).

Forwards: Max Svensson (24)*, Elton Kabangu (24)*, Joeri Schroijen (31), Nick Doodeman (26), Jazz Hornkamp (24), Michael de Leeuw (36), Jeremy Bokila (33), Jelte Pal (20)

*Not of Dutch nationality.

Current manager Kevin Hofland mostly sends the team out in a 4-2-3-1 formation which is something I had thought worth considering when looking at the current crop of players. I have decided upon my tactical approach for this save but to give it a detailed explanation I will be creating a separate blog post – I don’t want this one to drag on too long for you.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have enjoyed this introduction, I’m looking forward to getting started with this save! Please check out my fellow bloggers on DPFM as they are all wonderful writers.

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