After falling in love with this beautiful club through FM22 and Bunch Of Amateurs on YouTube, I enjoyed blogging and playing with them last year. If you want to read the blog, you can find it here.
I had decided on doing a Youth Academy save for FM23 and set some strict criteria before I found the right club. When I ordered plain tickets to visit Dorking and see them live in March last week, the club for the save was pretty much decided. It might not be the variety in clubs regular FM bloggers have, but in the end, it’s how I want to play the game that matters. The blog last year was unfortunately cut short due to a broken PC that needed fixing, so I feel that I have unfinished business at Dorking.
While I can’t wait to start this project, I won’t begin until the full release is out. There are several changes to the database from the Beta to full release, and there are some things not in the database now that I hope will be there on November 8th. The club is waiting for approval to expand the stadium to meet the requirements of the National League. I’ll need to look at this first and see if there are things I need to add or change in the editor before I start the save.
Based on how the club plays their football in real life, I want to replicate that and try to create a DNA with hard-working players that are capable on the ball and play possession-based football, more often than not, in a variant of 3-5-2. The formation will probably be a little dynamic and based on the graduates that come through the academy. If we don’t have enough centre-backs with excellent quality, it would be naive to play three at the back.
There will be three exceptions if the opportunity arises in the future. Dom Plank is the first one. The wonderkid that came through the academy and left for Wolves in the summer. The best player to go through the academy so far is, welcome back at any time.
The second one is Sam Beard, who arrived and made his debut for the club at 18. He was a key player until he stepped up to the National League and Barnet in the 2020/21 season. His father is now a coach and technical director at the club, and a family reunion is something everyone at the club would love.
The other one, and a super unrealistic one, is Connor Gallagher. He’s the only one of four brothers that haven’t played for the club, and at the moment, Dan is a vital member of the first team, and Jake is managing the U18s. So with ties like that to the club, I have to make an exception if it’s ever possible to bring him in.
While we’re onto players, there will be no rush to get rid of players that are not from the academy. For example, at the start of the save, no players in the first team from the academy except Josh Wilson, who is the third choice in goal. Therefore, keeping the best players at the club will be crucial to progress and staying competitive at a new level.
My plan and hope are to use all money to upgrade the facilities and invest in the youth setup. But, of course, several things need to be in place to have the chance to invest money in those areas of the club.
The key players to keep at the club looks to be Alfie Rutherford, who was the topscorer last season, and Matt Briggs, who starts the season with a severe injury and won’t be back before December or January. Briggs is arguably the best player in the team, and with his pace and dribbling, he will be missed for the first months of the first season. New signing Ryan Seager is another one of the attacking players that will be a crucial player. He will form one of the best partnerships with Rutherford in the League.
Defensively there aren’t many that stand out like the three offensively. Bobby-Joe Taylor deserves mention along with Barry Fuller. Captain Fuller turns 38 in September but has a contract until 2024. Hopefully, he will play out his contract and get at least one season mentoring the young lads from the first youth intake. He’s the only one in the squad with a professional personality, which we have to use to our advantage.
There are four players from the youth setup in the squad, to begin with.
Cameron Black, a towering centre-back, is on loan at Hampton & Richmon in National League South for the first season. With the lack of centre-backs in the first team, he should have an easy way into the squad when he returns.
James Dickson is an offensive midfielder who made his debut in the 2019/20 season and has been out on loan for the previous two seasons. He’s not first-team quality yet, but hopefully, he can develop into one.
Olly Allen got some hype last season after scoring a beauty for the first team in a friendly, and there were talks about clubs from the big leagues watching him. However, he has struggled to establish himself at Dorking, and he’s now on loan to his third club in two seasons.
Josh Wilson is a goalkeeper who made his debut last season and has figured around the first team for a while.
So that was a little about the idea, the plan for the save and some of the players. I’m looking forward to starting this project when the full release is upon us, and I hope you will follow along.
Thanks for reading!
/ FM Veteran