Tahiti : Why I play Football Manager somewhere a little different

Welcome to Fictional French Polynesia! By that I don’t mean that French Polynesia is not real – it is. As far as I know. I’ve not been but I’ve seen photographs. I just mean the version of French Polynesia in this Football Manager blog has been reimagined. Creatively reassembled, with added layers of extrapolation and outright fabrication.

As part of my blog, I’ll be writing about my career in a heavily edited Football Manager database. I’ll also be uploading a youtube series about it. Every year, every version of Football Manager, I go back to the sunny shores of Tahiti.

Definitely much sunnier playing Football Manager in French Polynesia…

I don’t use a version of the real world league set up though. A whole new league system has been implemented for French Polynesia, with four new countries based on some of the island chains joining Tahiti on the world stage.

With complete disregard for accuracy, many island atolls have had completely new and fictional teams added to them. Whether the atolls in question have people on them or not. In this mirror universe French Polynesia several individuals have attempted to give football in Oceania a kick up the rear. They have pumped a tiny amount of money into the grassroots and invoked a field of dreams mentality of build-it-and-they-will-come. No longer will teams from Oceania be minnows, or the whipping boys of international football! There will be a football revolution, happening island by island!

How did it all start with Tahiti and Football Manager?

Fair question imaginary audience, fair question. Back around FM12 my younger brother was inspired by a photo of Bora Bora and made a small 14 team league in Tahiti. It was a network game, and for me, it was one of the most enjoyable saves ever. We both challenged for silverware but so did some of the other teams. Club legends come through the ranks and retire (and some defected!), we saw teams and stadiums change and grow. We had continental success and made it all the way to the club championship. Teams became professional and started making money.

We saw it all change from non-league standard to‚Ķsort of league 1 maybe? I don’t know, they were still bad but the league had history and rivalry. We looked forward to playing Motu One on their clay pitch and were genuinely alarmed by the fact they might one day build a new stadium with a non-clay pitch.

A wonderful looking table for Mehetia fans (just me basically) from FM13

In short, it was one of the most enjoyable and immersive FM experiences I’ve had. It owed a lot to the far-flung setting, the blank canvas and the artistic license involved. We remade the database for every FM since, and gradually expanded it. An extra league, new teams, a competitive youth system, new cups, new nations based on island chains we found after a Wikipedia search. Whilst SI announced their new features for each version of FM we did the same but for the collection of tiny islands in our database. There are now 36 new clubs in the game, and 5 more nations than when we started.

There’s even a brand new international competition just for the Island nations. I’ve had lots of normal or journeyman saves in FM and I’ve liked them. But I love this database.

So how does FM work in Tahiti?

A whole new league system has been implemented for French Polynesia, with four new countries based on some of the island chains joining Tahiti on the world stage.

2013 Confederations Cup: Tahiti get spanked 10-0 by Spain

With complete disregard for accuracy, many island atolls have had completely new and fictional teams added to them, whether the atolls in question have people on them or not.

The Setting

This new FM world replaces the old (and inactive) Tahitian nation and league with the nation of Tahiti Societies, the home of four new leagues, and five new domestic cups. There is the French Polynesian Premiership, the French Polynesian Championship, the U23 Gold Development League, and the U23 Silver Development League. Most teams have an Under 23 side in the gold or silver leagues, but there is potential relegation of senior sides into the gold and silver, with some teams actually starting there.

Each team takes part in the inter-island cup as well as a smaller reputation cup for their region. The premiership winner and the inter-island cup winner play in the super cup the following season. The top two premiership sides also qualify for the Oceania Champions League. But a quirk in the rules means not the top two at the end of the season, but the top two mid-season because of overlaps in the calendar, giving plucky premiership sides a chance for continental competition even if they can’t unseat the top two at the end of the season.

Even minnows get the chance for some Champions league glory, just against Auckland instead of AC Milan

In addition to all this in the FM20 version (and beyond) the teams that finish 1st and 2nd qualify for the early rounds of the French Cup. That’s right they get to take a long trip to the French mainland because of the links between France and Polynesia to play against the bigger boys. Prize money and glory await. Just like real life, except with our completely custom teams.

All the teams are semi-professional and bar a handful of teams start with a small 500 seater stadium to begin their footballing journey with. Some of the new teams are based in Tahiti, with the others coming from the Austral Islands, Marquesa Islands, Bass Islands, Gambier Islands and Tuamotis. Each of these island chains/groups have split from Tahiti, much like teams from the UK/Great Britain, and have their own national sides.

Does FM in Tahiti even work?

It does for me. Like I said above I play it every version of Football Manager without fail. If you want to see how it worked out in FM19 for me you can check out this playlist. There are over 170 videos, not including the specials I did covering the Islands for any geography nerds.

We took on a range of clubs, won a range of cups, and made some internation history for Tahiti.

What’s going on with FM20?

I’ve also moved onto FM20 with Tahiti, and I’ve been recording away. I’m not quite 170 episodes in but you can catch up below. My plan for FM20 is to continue to upload to YouTube but to add and supplement on the blog here. With specials, one-offs, tactical focussed blogs and maybe specials for players!

Whats the aim with Tahiti?

To play the absolute crap out of this database every year. I’ll be sticking with this to see how far I can get, how many seasons in, and to see how successful the teams and nations can become. Maybe my manager will be a one-club man. Maybe I’ll get the sack and have to find a slightly different tropical island to ply my trade on. There are certain things I always want to achieve though in each version of FM with my save:

  • I want to win the Champions League
  • I want to manage one of the French Polynesian Nations
  • Related to that I want to a) win the Oceanic Nations Cup (or pacific games), and b) qualify for the World Cup
  • I want to eventually win all the domestic cups (this will require moving clubs at least 3 times)
  • I want to crush my enemies. See them driven before me. And to hear the lamentations of their women.

So Stick Around

If you want more tropical Football Manager content then stick around. That’s not to say everything on this blog is going to be about Tahiti though. That’s my first love but I will also be posting about other slightly more traditional saves, hoofball and longball tactics, and how to use statistics to work out expected goals (xG) and your team’s DNA. It all starts with Tahiti, but there’s plenty more to come.