Like most crazy ideas I get on this blog, it all started with an offhand comment in the Cartilage Free Captain writer’s Slack. I don’t remember who said it first, but the sentiment was shared amongst all of us.
It went something like this: “God, I love Erik Lamela. I wish we could clone him.”
That got us all thinking — and giggling — about a squad consisting of nothing but 11 Erik Lamelas. How would they play? What would their tactics be? Good Lord, can you imagine how many yellow cards would get issued? It would be the most entertaining football club on the planet.
And then it hit me: We could totally do this.
Football Manager 2019 had just been released the week prior, and it is a football management simulator that not only allows for player customization, it thrives on it. Sports Interactive even releases a sanctioned editor that allows owners to add and delete leagues, create and alter players, and customize to their hearts content. There’s a DLC that allows you to tweak the database as you’re playing it. Sure, you can use it to cheat, but you can also use it to mold the Premier League, or whatever team you’re playing with, in your image.
Surely it’d be possible to create a team full of Lamelas. How hard could it be?
While I’ve been known to download and install a custom database that, say, takes FM down to level 15 on the pyramid, I’ve never actually tried my hand at customizing anything myself, much less a whole team of cloned players. Sean Cahill has contacts at Sports Interactive and reached out to them with this idea, and they were gracious enough to provide me with a free copy of FM19 for me to tweak, and learn.
They probably wasted their money. It turns out customizing the game is a lot harder than I thought. However, after a couple of hours with the FM19 Editor and a lot of frantic googling, I figured out how to adjust Tottenham Hotspur in game to be a team of all Eriks.
Say hello to AC Lamela.
Flush with the excitement of a goal achieved, I threw the once-Tottenham now-Lamelized team into a Premier League simulation... and it got clobbered. Repeatedly. Well, that’s no fun, I thought. Surely a team full of Lamelas should be tested on more even grounds than just going up against the likes of a full-strength Manchester City and Liverpool. Lamela is the best, but that’s hardly fair.
Clearly, the answer was to create MORE cloned teams. Perhaps a league of them! With each team featuring a single cloned Tottenham Hotspur player.
That’s how the Tottenham Hotspur Clone League was born.
Tottenham Hotspur Clone League
|AC Lamela||Erik Lamela|
|Asteras Trippier||Kieran Trippier|
|Brighton & Hove Alderweireldbion||Toby Alderweireld|
|Darlington Sanchez||Davinson Sanchez|
|Dele Galaxy||Dele Alli|
|Dembele-ton Orient||Mousa Dembele|
|Foyth Spartans||Juan Foyth|
|Hugo's Old Boys||Hugo Lloris|
|Jan-buk Hyundai Motors||Jan Vertonghen|
|Kanerminster Harriers||Harry Kane|
|Lucastle United||Lucas Moura|
|Paris Serge-Germain||Serge Aurier|
|Racing Eriksentander||Christian Eriksen|
|Rapid Winks||Harry Winks|
|Rushdon & Diermonds||Eric Dier|
|Stade Bennais||Ben Davies|
|Unathletic Bilbao||Fernando Llorente|
|WanyaMan City||Victor Wanyama|
(Thanks to my Carty Free colleagues for brainstorming the team names)
It’s the international break, so there’s (a little) time to devote to stuff like this. The goal is to take the 20 teams in the Premier League and tweak them so that they are full of clones of a single Tottenham Hotspur player.
Care will be taken to make them as similar as easily feasible to a total editing n00b — the clubs will be adjusted to be managed by the same gaffer (a clone of Mauricio Pochettino). All clubs’ reputations, tactical preferences and stats will be adjusted to the same level, i.e. stats pegged to their highest level and tactics that prefer 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1. The clubs will all be moved to London (though keeping their original stadiums), and will all be under transfer embargoes to prevent them from bringing in additional players. Clubs will be able to fire and hire managers, though, which could also be fun. The matches will be simulated, with no player interference — I will join the game as an unemployed manager and will run the game to the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
Over the course of the international break I’ll be updating you on the results of this wild experiment.† It’s not ready to sim yet — I’m still working out the details and trying to figure out how to implement them. There will be bugs. It’ll take a little time to work out.
Can a team of Mousa Dembeles best a team of Harry Kanes over the course of a season? Will a team of Hugo Llorises (“Llorisii?”) have an advantage over other clubs because they’re the only team with a world class keeper between the sticks (sorry, Harry Kane)? If a team of Moussa Sissokii play a team of Kieran Trippiers, will the universe collapse in on itself?
I have no idea! But let’s find out. It’s going to be fun!