Alan Shearer was enjoying a much-deserved lazy morning lie-in having just led Southampton to Champions League qualification and a first-ever European trophy. That was until the peace was disturbed by the startling blare of his mobile phone.
The Southampton board rewarded Alan Shearer for his 8th-place finish and Carabao Cup win with a whopping transfer budget that was effectively around £300 million.
You may have heard the news that Southampton were recently the subject of a "tycoon takeover" from Serbian media mogul Dragan Solak. Having just completed our Spending Saudi Gold Football Manager Experiment following Newcastle's tycoon takeover, this presented the perfect opportunity to run another one.
Big Sam Allardyce got his first taste of failure and relegation as his beleaguered Blackburn Rovers dropped into the Championship with barely a whimper in the 2023/24 campaign. However, there was no time to hang around as we simmed ahead to Christmas Day 2024 to discover the fourth task on this Football Manager Experiment.
The survival specialist skills of Big Sam Allardyce were once again proven as he pulled off a minor miracle to keep Middlesbrough in the Premier League in 2022/23. But his finest work yet would be required after simming ahead to Christmas 2023.
Newcastle United became Champions of England for the first time after blowing more than £1 billion in four years to bring in some of the world's best young talent. And director of football Alan Shearer had even more money available to tweak the squad in a bid to defend that maiden title.
Big Sam Allardyce confirmed his legendary status as a survival specialist as his rather hazardous January spending kept Norwich City in the Premier League in 2021/22. But now he had to do it all over again!
Newcastle United finished 2nd in the Premier League in 2023/24 - only behind surprise title winners Tottenham. But a bumper transfer budget meant 'Director of Football' Alan Shearer had a busy summer ahead of him.
In 30 years of the Premier League, only three teams have ever survived relegation having been bottom of the league at Christmas. That got me thinking a fun challenge would be to try and brand ourselves a survival specialist and attempt to buck that trend in the virtual world.