Last Chance: Loïc Pelley is a fictional story through the Football Manager world. You may remember our series Mega Project, where we followed Mason Bradshaw around the globe at various clubs. This Loïc Pelley FM21 story will be incorporating a narrative, guides and tips on how Loïc manages his life and club. This is a Football Manager 2021 journey not to be missed, and don’t forget, it’s access all areas so you will see what it’s really like to manage a football team. How will Loïc manage his finances at the clubs he manages, will he be able to achieve these on a shoe-string budget or will he bring debt to the club?
Loïc Pelley will do things differently, he will show you his ways of finding the best players / wonderkids and training them. Unsure what tactics to use against a better team, Loïc will do his best to show you how to counteract it. After all, what are staff for, if they aren’t being used?
Bienvenue Loïc Pelley
On a mud-soaked pitch in the outskirts of Kumba, a 12-year-old boy watches a corner kick carefully from outside the penalty area. His team can’t finish the corner, and the opposition break. Quickly but calmly, the boy sets about breaking up the counterattack, recovering the ball, and playing it to a teammate to renew the attack.
Satisfied, a scout from Yaoundé turns away to make a phone call. Speaking French, he says: “Nathanaël? I’ve got one. This one’s a little special, I think.” He pauses, listening. “No, I’m really sure. I’ve seen him half a dozen times, and he’s been excellent every time. Pacey, intelligent, brave in the tackle, he’s a package.”
Noise from the field interferes for a minute, the lad had set up a teammate for a goal, taking the lead.
“We need to see if we can get this kid to Clairefontaine. Can you send someone to talk to the parents? Good. Good, you won’t regret it.’
“His name? Loïc Pelley. Remember it, you’ll be hearing it again.”
All or Nothing: Loïc Pelley’s time at Arsenal
Ten years later, the lad signed his first pro contract at 18, signing with Arsenal as a holding midfielder under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger. He went into their reserve side, where he worked very hard at learning his trade as a professional, and learning English. Hard lessons followed – he had made the U-19 French team, and won some silverware with both the U-19 and U-23 sides.
After five injury-ravaged years with Arsenal, where he never appeared with the main squad, he failed his medical at Nottingham, and took the hint his body was giving him.
Let’s see how Loïc got on at Arsenal according to top data analysts, year by year:
Loïc arrived at London Colney as an energetic 18 year old defensive midfielder, instantly catching the attention of his coaches with his reading of the game and his eye for a pass. He would have to compete for starting 11 position with Chris Blake, an Academy Graduate.
End of Season One
However, during his first season things were hard. With just 8 appearances for the youth team, it became clear that adapting to life in North London wasn’t gonna be easy for him. The season ended happily though, with a Premier Reserve League title with the Arsenal U23s.
End of Season Two
During his second season at the club it was decided that he’d be playing further back, to deploy his passing range as a ball-playing defender. That way they could play him along with Blake. That saw his minutes raise, but it was a though season for Loïc, learning a new position.
End of Season Three
His third season was a hard one. Despite the Arsenal manager’s promises, he wouldn’t see a single minute of first team action. Even worse, he spent a lot of time injured and saw his U23s minutes decline.
End of Season Four
With Arsenal’s centre back in shaky form, Loïc was hoping to make a debut for the first team, but even more injuries derailed his fourth season. With just one year left on his contract, this was a blow for Loïc, as it began to dawn on him that his future might not lay on the football pitch.
End of Season Five
After five seasons in England, his career was stuck. His Arsenal contract was up, and there was no interest in renovating it. With just some casual interest from Nottingham Forest, Loïc decided to take a different path.
What Happened Next?
Taking stock, Pelley decided to attend Picardie Jules Verne university in Amiens, learning statistical analysis and sport management. Graduating sixth in his class, he moved on to start a Master’s in sport management, finally earning his second degree shortly after his 30th birthday.
Newly certified, he found work as a data analyst with Auxerre, earning a reputation as a canny reader of data, able to sift through a mound of reports on players and discover the gems. He had begun taking his coaching badges while at school, finally earning a UEFA B Licence during his second year as an analyst. With this, he became eligible to manage professional clubs, and he was soon being headhunted by other teams.
Steadfast to Auxerre for giving him his first chance, it was the club who finally gave in and said he could talk to US Creteil-Lusitanos, a small team from the Paris region who needed a manager. After a short discussion, he agreed to take on the job as manager.
At the age of 32, Loïc Pelley was in charge of a semi-professional club.
It was a long way from the heat of Cameroon, but he’d finally started the first leg of his journey as a football manager.
Press Conference with Loïc
Maxifoot: “You’ve been away from football for a few years now, why did you not go into coaching after retiring as a player?”
Loïc Pelley: “I stepped away for a few years to get out of the limelight, many know I perhaps didn’t live up to the potential. I know how people talk about Freddy Adu not living up to his FM potential. I didn’t want to become that”
Maxifoot: “During your time away, you studied at Picardie Jules Verne. Graduating with a Masters in statistical analysis and sport management, how will you use this in your new role?
Loïc Pelley: “I will be using a lot of statistics to get the best out of the players, during training – and the match. I believe this will give myself and the team the best possible outcome. I worked extremely hard, and to be given an opportunity like this, I need to be at my best, everyday. “
Maxifoot: “Loïc, you’ve just got your first management job in the world of football. How prepared do you feel for the task, as a relatively young manager?”
Loïc Pelley: “Well, I’ve dreamed of managing for a while, since I was a young lad in Kumba. My friends wanted to be the ace striker. I wanted to be the boss. I still can’t believe it, I had to pinch myself after I got the phone call.”
To be continued….
Loïc Pelley FM21 Story
It promises to be an interesting career to follow, this of Loïc Pelley, from the streets of Kumba to North London, to where next? We’ll have to watch to find out.
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