My First Full Season as a FASISAC Manager – Part Three

Match four:

Mighty Goats



The Meteors





Two – one down with seconds on the clock we (Ali Kattan) rescued a point with the final kick of the game. The players celebrated at the final whistle but it had been another winnable match that we’d thrown away due to our flimsy midfield and a messy game from our ‘keeper Rui Roberto.

In the press conference after the match a reporter said ‘You shouted “get the ball to Ali” a lot today. To what extent do you think you’re a one man team?’ I responded by saying ‘try playing without a goalkeeper’ some smart alec muttered ‘it looked like you did today’.

Post match message from Vincent ‘Can you get me Ali Kattan’s signature if I send you my shirt please? He signed it before but my mum washed it and I feel embarrassed asking again’ I said I’d see what I could. Thirty seconds later there was a knock on my door and a woman, who introduced herself as Vincent’s mum, handed me Vincent’s home-made Mighty Goats t-shirt. His Mum must have been sat outside which creeped me out a bit but then she told me how FASISAC was bringing Vincent a lot of joy and that she wished me well and the minor stalking became quite charming.

Match five:

The Pioneers



Mighty Goats






Our best performance of the season so far moved us above our opposition to top of the league with one game left to play. A masterclass in finishing from Ali Kattan once again.

Meggage from Vincent ‘Gaffer, if we win or draw our final game, we’ll win the league! I have to say I wasn’t sure about you at first what with the lack of midfielders but now I have all the confidence that wwwwwweeeeee cccccaaaannnn ddddooooo iiiiiittttt!!!’

Match 6:

League standings

  Pld W D L F A GD Pts
Mighty Goats 5 2 3 0 14 8 +6 9
The Pioneers 5 2 1 2 8 9 -1 7
Otters 5 1 3 1 5 5 0 6
The Meteors 5 0 3 2 5 10 -5 3

The equation was simple, win or draw against the Otters and we would win the league. If we ended the season tied on points then head to head record is used so my superior goal difference over the Otters wouldn’t come into play.

In our previous meeting the Otters had played a sit deep tactic that nullified our preferred attacking game plan. In anticipation of us having less attacks and needing to do a bit of defending I made the decision to give Haji Gamal his debut. He was shocked, so shocked that he admitted he hadn’t brought any shin pads and so had to borrow some.

The match started with us looking nervous, they had a couple of attacks early on that they came very close to taking. When we finally attacked it fell to the Omani Piranha himself and there was only one outcome – Kattan bullied his way past his marker and slotted the ball in the bottom corner to score the opener. The celebration was short lived however as Kattan felt the back of his thigh and pulled up with an injury. He gestured that he could play on but he was hobbling badly and so I made the call to replace him with Igor. I shouted to the lads to keep it tight, try and bring us into halftime with the one nil lead but before I’d finished my sentence Haji Gamal, who had started the game well, fell on his arse and gifted the ball to Oleg Andreiko who scored the equaliser for the Otters. Moments later things went from sort of okay but not ideal to probably not okay. Kuuku Akua fell awkwardly after a tackle and there was no chance of him carrying on. We’d lost our two best players and were now very vulnerable defensively.

Half time arrived not a minute too soon and it was time for me to step up, inspire a broken team to pick themselves up off the floor and go out and claim the title that was deservedly theirs. What I actually did was have a long conversation with Ali Kattan about whether he could come back on. ‘I can play with injections’ he said, then I said ‘what injections?’ he then replied ‘you know the ones they give players who are injured but still want to play’ I told him ‘We don’t have any of them, but there’s some Ibuprofen in the medical bag’ Ali wasn’t sure because he thought they took about twenty minutes to kick in but took two anyway and went back on. My last words to the team were ‘we’ve got to go for goals now, we don’t have the personnel to sit back so let’s score more than them and win this league in style. Haji Gamal said ‘Am I still on then?’ To which I said ‘Yes son. Go and do me proud’ The tone was all wrong, it came out false, he knew I blamed him for their goal. He shook his head as he left the changing room.

As the second half started to take shape it was clear that our attacking play was paying off, they were no longer sitting back and instead were adopting a high press, something our fluid movement made a fool’s strategy.

It wasn’t long before Ali Kattan, even without full mobility, was able to get half a yard and score his twelfth goal of the season, sealing the golden boot by a country mile. We were playing well, they were rattled and only their ‘keeper was keeping the score at 2-1. Then, against the run of play, Bram De Haan picked up the ball, danced past Mickey McKenzie with a beautiful step over and hammered home to equalise again for the Otters.

At 2-2 we were still on top of the table but it was squeaky bum time. The bum that squeaked the loudest was that of Chika Babatunde as he chased back and bundled Bram De Haan over in the area. Penalty! Guillaume Vivant stepped up and converted. The Otters had taken the lead with only minutes left on the clock.

We battled hard and Kattan had several half chances but we had fallen at the final hurdle. We had lost the game and lost the league title. We were all devastated.

Post match message from Vincent ‘My heart is hurting, my tears are real. You still have my belt, can I have it back please’

A week after the end of the season I had time to reflect, although we hadn’t won the league we’d tried and got damn close to the championship. There were highs and lows, good decisions and bad but we’d been part of a story and that’s what FASISAC is all about.


FASISAC final game of the season

The line-ups for the final match of the season

My First Full Season as a FASISAC Manager – Part Two

The season was upon us. The first match had a buzz of expectation around it that we weren’t sure we’d get with this new football format. I felt ready and our opponents for the first match were The Meteors managed by Englishman, Barry Stone who is more of a fossil than a meteor.

Match one:

The Meteors



Mighty Goats




Kattan (pen)


We knew what to expect from Barry Stone and The Meteors*, it would be uncompromising, direct football and so we adopted a tactic of possession. Whilst this wasn’t a natural fit for some of our players it was executed well enough to give us the edge in terms of quality chances created. The final score may have flattered us somewhat and we were helped by an injury to The Meteors’ star player Anderson Cruz Da Costa (a.k.a ACDC) and their young goalkeeper having a shocker but a great start and deserved 3 points nonetheless.

Post match Whatsapp message from Vincent: ‘Wwwwwweeeeeeeee ddddiiiiiiddddd iiiiiittttt!!! I’ve had a magnum ice cream to celebrate. I find them overly indulgent because of the price normally but on a day like today yyyiiiippppeeeeeee!!!’ I didn’t like that he repeated consonants and vowels, I prefer repeated vowels only, but I appreciated the sentiment.

Match two:

Mighty Goats



The Pioneers







A wonderful game for the neutral, full of drama and for The Pioneers an impressive battling performance. For us, it was 2 points dropped.

Before the game it had been mentioned that The Pioneers seemed to select their game plan entirely at random without any regard for what their players could play. This did make them unpredictable but in the same way that the UK weather is unpredictable: mostly crap. As mostly crap as their tactics were, you’ve already seen the final score and there were more reasons why we should have been comfortable winners. At 1 – 1  The Pioneers had Jeronimo Rojas sent off and although they responded by immediately scoring a goal we were able to get ahead 3 – 2 going into the final few attacks of the game. When their main scoring threats Lenny McGee and Masonga picked up minor injuries we thought we were home and dry but The Pioneers brought on Lee Joo Won for his debut and with one of the final kicks of the game he scored an equaliser that both he and I would remember for a long time but for very different reasons.

Post match Whatsapp message from Vincent ‘You can’t win them all gaffer’ He had taken to calling me gaffer. I loved it.

Match three:

Mighty Goats



The Otters



The Otters were the team with the best manager and they proved to be the hardest opponents so far. After going one nil down and being outdone tactically we were happy to walk away from the game with a draw.

Post match message from Vincent ‘Great work gaffer, even though they were better tactically, you still looked like a proper coach with all the shouting and arm waving’

At the half way point surprise package The Pioneers were on top, with us in second. The pre-season favourites The Otters were struggling with only 2 points leaving us with every chance of pushing on for the title in the second half of the season.

Mid Season standings

Pld W D L F A GD Pts
The Pioneers 3 2 1 0 7 3 +4 7
Mighty Goats 3 1 2 0 8 5 +3 5
The Otters 3 0 2 1 2 4 -2 2
The Meteors 3 0 1 2 2 7 -5 1

*Barry Stone and The Meteors first album Funky Sauce Postman is out now on Atlantic Records

My First Full Season as a FASISAC Manager – Part One

Was I, Jocky Wilson, ready to manage a team in the first ever season of FASISAC? Most people thought no but I’d been involved from the very start, I’d helped recruit the players to be part of this experiment, I’d coached or watched all the trial matches. If I ignored my Championship Manager successes my football CV was sparse at best but I knew this format of the game better than anyone else. That is why I was given the chance to manage one of the four inaugural teams: The Mighty Goats. So to all those haters who think I got the job because I was a close personal friend of Benjamin Underhouse, the creator and owner of FASISAC, I say to you ‘I do my talking on the pitch’… well, in the changing room. Then the players do the talking on the pitch, but theirs is metaphorical and it’s as a result of my actual talking, in the changing room.

The season began with the player draft, which took place in the Peter Ndlovu conference room of the Best Western in Coventry. On the way in I was surprised to be greeted by a Mighty Goats fan. I was surprised because the teams hadn’t played any games or drafted any players so all there was until now was the name and a colour scheme. The man’s name was Vincent and I mean this in the nicest possible way, I think he’d been looking to be a fan of something for a while. He was wearing a t-shirt he’d printed himself with a picture of a goat and ‘Mighty Goats’ written on it, a yellow scarf and a yellow and black baseball cap. I liked Vincent immediately and was delighted to know that if I accidentally gave a clichéd team-talk saying ‘do it for the fans’, there would at least be one of them to ‘do it’ for.

The draft was my first face-to-face meeting with the other three managers and some of the press so I wanted to make a good first impression. I’d gone full suit and tie, except I forgot to put a belt on and the trousers were loose so I kept having to hoist them up. I felt nervous, I needed a belt or I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the biggest decisions of the season. Vincent! I waddled to the corner of the room where Vincent was sat ‘have you got a belt on?’ I asked, ‘no, jogging bottoms, elasticated’ he replied. Damn, I should have noticed. ‘But I have a belt in my backpack, I got changed after work if you need one’ said Vincent. ‘Vincent I could kiss you!’ I stopped short of kissing Vincent but the debt of gratitude I owed Vincent turned into a series of polite replies to whatsapp messages which continue to this day that I can only describe as ‘not worth the belt’.

Wardrobe fixed it was time to get down to business. I had second draft pick and to my delight I was able to get Ali Kattan, the Omani Piranha, arguably the best striker in the draft and I followed that with Kuuku Akua, an outstanding defender. Two great individuals but not tactically on the same wavelength so my next picks had to give me some well rounded midfielders who could help complement these two stars. Unfortunately, my heart and the thought of just scoring more goals than the opposition overruled my head and with my third pick I chose Chika Babatunde whose skill makes him a pleasure to watch but he is frustrating to manage. There were better all rounders who I thought I could get later on but they were all soon snapped up. I selected my goalkeeper next, Rui Roberto, the Angoalie (because he’s from Angola) who is arguably better with his feet than his hands but his tactical flexibility was necessary given the disjointed trio I’d selected so far. Next, still neglecting any midfield bite I added two more good attacking players; Igor and Dante Franco. Finally, probably too little too late, a couple of lads who could tackle in Mickey McKenzie and the youth player Haji Gamal. I think Haji saw me shrug and may even have lip-read me saying ‘they’re both shit’ before I selected him from the last two players available; it was certainly a frosty first hand shake and our relationship never really improved thereafter.

After the photos with the players holding up their yellow and black Mighty Goats shirts I slipped away to the bar next door to reflect on the squad of 8 players I had selected. It was attacker heavy, very attacker heavy. I had 4 strikers, 2 defenders, a goalkeeper and a young lad who could play anywhere or nowhere that thought I was a dick. I had zero recognised midfielders. Luckily, with this being the first season of FASISAC I probably had a couple of matches before anyone noticed how unbalanced my team was. My strategy had not been planned but it was now set. I would go out and score goals. More than I conceded hopefully. We would be The Mighty Entertainers, The Mighty Goats.

How Much Luck is there in FASISAC?

*WARNING this post is both geeky and mathsy*

I decided I wanted to analyse how different decisions you make can affect your chances of winning a match in FASISAC. I did this with thousands of computer generated simulations and the results surprised me.

In play-tester feedback I have asked where people feel FASISAC sits on a scale of 1 to 10 for luck versus strategy where 1 = entirely luck (50/50 who wins no matter what) and 10 = entirely strategy (the best manager/team will always win). The average score was 6.3 which is pretty close to where I wanted the game to be when I began designing it. But this was people’s ‘feel’, often from just one match, so I wanted some data to see just how much luck there is in the game.

I’ve been developing a companion app that can run on Android for FASISAC. It can simulate matches and do some other useful bits and pieces like keep track of your scores and calculate league positions. The simulations are especially useful if you want to play out a season or multiple seasons and include automa (non-human) managers. These automa have specific rules for how they draft, select their tactics etc. The simulator lets you fast track your way through the matches they would play against each other.

So I tweaked the app and ran some scenarios through the simulator. Below are the results.

Note: These simulations did not take into account tactics and boost cards, they simply simulated a set number of attacks for each team to see how changing the players or number of attacks changed the outcomes. 10 attacks each. 1000 simulations, unless otherwise stated.

SCENARIO 1: Rubbish Team Versus Great Team.

This is something close to the best starting line up based solely on attributes versus a very poor team, it’s not a stupid team, there is a goalkeeper in goal and a reasonable defender in defence etc. But in every position they are notably worse than the great team.

cack v good

Rubbish Team: 34 wins
Draws: 85
Great team: 881 wins

So getting a great team gets great results, but there is always hope for a giant killing!

SCENARIO 2: Out of Position FC V In Position Rangers

Same line-ups but one team is playing the striker in defence and the defender as striker

Out of position v in

Out Of Position FC: 206 wins
Draws: 204
In Position Rangers: 590

This was one of the results that shocked me the most. I knew there would obviously be an advantage to having a player with high tackling in defence and a player with good skill and shooting as striker but for it to almost treble the chances of victory when all the players are the same just goes to show how important getting the right players for each position can be.

SCENARIO 3: Slightly Less Out Of Position FC V In Position Rangers

Because I was so surprised by the last result I thought I’d see how much impact a more subtle switch had. This time I swapped the striker (Minh Zhiang) with one of the midfielders (Dingo), both players could do a job in either position so in theory the change should be minor…

SLOP FC: 327 wins
Draws: 242
In Position Rangers: 431

Even that slight adjustment in positions improved the chances of winning by 32%!*

*Maths… some folks will prefer to view this rise from 32.7% to 43.1% as an increase of 10.4%. This is perfectly acceptable but the percentage increase in wins is 32%

SCENARIO 4: Twelve Attacks City V Ten Attacks Athletic

Generally, getting your tactics right will mean at least one more attack per half than your opposition. We’ll see what that does to the win % using exactly the same teams.

Twelve Attacks City: 502
Draws: 218
Ten Attacks Athletic: 280

You’d think that 20% more attacks would result in 20% more wins but it’s far more significant than that! Getting your tactics right to get those extra attacks results in a massive 79% jump in wins in this scenario.

SCENARIO 5: Okay Keeper Wednesday V Good Keeper Villa

Same outfield players but Roberto in goal v Hofmann in goal

hofmann v roberto-01

Okay Keeper Wednesday: 310
Draws: 206
Good Keeper Villa: 484

Get your ‘keeper right and you could improve your win rate by a whopping 56%!

So there you have it. There is always an element of luck in FASISAC and indeed in every individual roll there is a big chunk of luck. But a game consists of so many rolls that the  luck is balanced out through the beauty of probability distributions. As with all football there is a chance for any team, but strategy and quality of players plays a pretty huge part in who wins.

The balance of the game is probably the thing I am most proud of. Every decision that seems small does have an impact on your chances of winning, stretch those small improvements out over a full match or even a season and they’re the difference between mid-table mediocrity and crafting a team of Champions.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you for taking an interest in FASISAC, let me know what you thought or if there are any other scenarios you’d like me to run through the simulator in a comment on the facebook page or in an email (

Meet Masonga, the young Tanzanian set to make a big splash in FASISAC this season.

By Tommi Gronlund.

Masonga doesn’t have a definite date of birth, there’s a date on his birth certificate which he got at 12 years old but that was plucked out of the air. According to his mother, Anna, he was born in the wet season, on a Wednesday. Masonga translates as we talk to Anna via facebook video call. ‘We just don’t keep track of those things, ages aren’t important. You start young, you get less young.’ The call breaks up and we say our goodbyes. How did a young boy of such humble beginnings make it to becoming a professional footballer?

TG: You grew up in a village in Tanzania, playing most of your football on dirt pitches, how was that?

It was great, we could play every day with whatever ball we could find or make. Sometimes we’d have a nice ball other times we used to collect plastic bags and elastic bands. Those balls were the best because they didn’t burst when they went into the acacia thorns. Whenever they fell apart we’d go and find some more trash to tie together. We didn’t care what state the ball was in, we just wanted to run and play with our friends.

TG: So how did you go from that to more organised football? When did you first get coaching?

M: Weirdly enough I got a scholarship to an international school through music, the head of our village would teach guitar and drumming lessons and had a connection at the school. I wasn’t actually all that good but I think my attitude made me stand out, I’d turn up an hour early so that I could get in some practice on the guitar. Oh, by the way there was only one guitar between 10 of us, the lessons were mostly us watching our teacher play.

I was always pretty dedicated with music, with football whatever, I loved improving. When I was really young, maybe 5 or 6, I remember spending days practising keepy-uppies until I’d got to 50 and then 100. I always wanted to get better.

I was 13 when I got the scholarship and going to an international school was so different from what I was used to. In my village school we were sitting silently at our desks being lectured to. The kids and the teachers sometimes didn’t care or even turn up for lessons, then all of a sudden I’m sitting next to kids who are paying ten thousand dollars a year. It was so foreign to me. I hated it at first, I didn’t really know I was poor until then, after the first day I got home and I cried, I didn’t want to go back. I did though and soon enough I was loving every lesson, taking in everything I could. Then came the football, we were lucky to have a great group of boys who all pushed each other on and a coach who was happy to train us every day and we’d even do some sessions before school. One of the other boys went on to play pro in Kenya.

Before playing in the school side I had no idea about formations or anything, we’d play games of 20 a side in the village and looking back they were ridiculous. But we loved it. If you scored a winner in those games you were a hero for days.

TG: What are your thoughts on FASISAC? What do you like about this new football format?

M: I think it’s great, it’s all about entertainment and it suits my play, I just need half a yard and I have a chance of shooting whenever I get the ball in the final third. It leads to lots of action and some really great back and forth in the scoring.

TG: There have been five exhibition warm-up tournaments. How have you found the last month touring around Europe?

M: At first, there were some teething problems, people maybe didn’t know what to expect. In Spain for the first [tournament], I think it had been marketed wrong and they expected futsal or some famous players. They weren’t able to connect with the idea and the players. Honestly I thought ‘well, we tried I guess this won’t be a success’. I half expected the tour to be cancelled right then. But then something happened after Spain and people in the crowd had been watching the highlights on youtube. They saw some of the rules working well. Also as players we settled into the matches and the level of performance has been improving every game.

TG: The last game at the Bolton Arena in front of 8,000 people must have been an experience?

M: It was crazy! That was one of the best experiences of my life. If we can get those sort of crowds for the Championships then I will be so happy. There were kids asking me for my autograph, shouting ‘Masonga, Masonga’ I thought ‘Man this is surreal, they know my name!’ I’m quite a shy person but it was a huge compliment.

TG: Do you think FASISAC can really catch on and stand up in the football world as a sport in its own right?

M: Honestly, I don’t know. I think it’s a hell of a lot of fun and something a little bit different from what’s come before so I think it has a chance. What I can say for certain is that it’s been an absolute pleasure being part of the story so far.


If you want to be part of the story of FASISAC going forward join the facebook group: