Strat Packer's blog
Creative and intellectual output beyond the realm of my day job
FC 24 Career Mode: Everton – fighting for Premier League survival
It’s been a year since I last updated my FIFA 22 Career Mode series, guiding TSP United into England’s top flight. With my enthusiasm for EA Sports FC 24 yet to wane, I thought it was time to start a new campaign with a new club.
A quick note before we start: If you read the previous series, you might be aware that I play Career Mode with some special rules to increase the challenge. Last time around that was a ban on paid-for transfers to focus on youth development, but I’ve slightly altered my guidelines this time around for added entertainment:
Transfers in must be realistic. That means that if a player is at a club that is significantly outperforming my team, he wouldn’t want to sign for us, and he’s off limits even if I have enough money to buy him.
Bid responses must be realistic. If a player is kicking up a fuss and has requested a transfer, I must accept reasonable bids for him. Likewise, if a much bigger team makes an offer for one of my stars, he’s going to want to leave for Champions League football, and I must let him go.
No free agents. The services of some very useful players become available free of charge in Career Mode, and I probably abused this to an extent last time out. This time, free agents are completely off limits.
Basically, all this adds up to: “I’m trying to make Career Mode as realistic as possible, and therefore I must consider what decision would be made in real life, rather than the choice that benefits me most according to the game’s mechanics.”
Setting the scene
If you’ve read or watched any of my recent FC 24 content, you’ll probably have noticed that I was playing a Chelsea Career Mode as Mauricio Pochettino. But after a couple of seasons I’d finally won the Premier League, and between my tactics and the players’ development, it felt like the game was getting a bit easy.
From the beginning of the 2025/26 season, I tried applying for jobs at teams lower in the Premier League, but for whatever reason they always rejected me. To force the issue, I skipped through months until I was finally sacked by Chelsea, and once I was unemployed I was offered only a single role: that of Everton manager.
It was an ambitious job, and I inherited a mess. With six games to go, Everton were 18th in the league with just 23 points. Brighton, Burnley and Nottingham Forest were also entangled in the relegation scrap, with Middlesbrough well off the pace in 20th.
More problematic was the squad situation. The team I took over was in bad form, stripped of key players, and lacking a natural left back. While my main focus was Premier League survival, I also began work in the background to shift the deadwood, and opened talks regarding moves for some of my favourite Chelsea youth talent, who stood no chance of game time at Stamford Bridge after my departure.
2025/26 - Premier League
My first game in charge was a return to Tottenham, and I immediately took a more cautious approach with an emphasis on safe passes. The drop in player quality - a lack of pace and finesse - made it difficult to penetrate the defence, but we did manage to keep it tight at the back, earning a 0-0 draw in a drab affair.
Any impressions that survival would be easy were destroyed in midweek when we lost 3-1 to Fulham at home, but the following weekend saw a shock smash-and-grab as Everton snatched a 2-0 win away at Old Trafford, sneaking our goals after somehow surviving sustained pressure from Manchester United.
Our wings were clipped once again as Aston Villa took all three points in a scrappy game at Goodison Park that saw plenty of chances for the home team, but little quality finishing. A late consolation goal from Beto was all we could muster.
With two games to go, Everton sat in 17th, just above the drop zone, with a two-point advantage and a game in hand over 18th-placed Burnley. With a superior goal difference, one point from our final two games would be enough to secure survival.
First up was a dramatic away clash against fellow strugglers Brighton. Despite going 2-0 down inside ten minutes, my Everton team eventually fought back to 3-3, but conceded an 86th-minute penalty after Joao Pedro was brought down by a last-ditch challenge by right-back Patterson. Mbuemo converted, we lost 4-3.
This meant our Premier League survival rested on our final day fixture at home to Wolves. Burnley were still two points behind, but with their last fixture taking them away to the Amex Stadium, there was every chance they could still escape the drop.
The critical match couldn’t have started better, with Vargas netting an opener straight from kick-off, but Wolves equalised via Guedes after 17 minutes and quickly took control of the game, eventually taking a 3-1 lead as he completed his hat trick. At the other end, Beto failed to capitalise on countless opportunities, and while Everton did eventually pull one goal back, we relinquished control of our fate in a 4-2 defeat.
There had been no news from the Amex when referee blew the final whistle, but it turned out we’d been very lucky. Burnley had earned a draw at Brighton and closed the gap to one point, so we were effectively one goal from relegation, but as it was, we’d survived by the skin of our teeth in 17th place with 27 points.
I’d done enough to keep Poch in a job, but there was a lot of work to do ahead of the 2026/27 season. A number of deals made in the background meant a refreshed Everton squad would be assembled in time for August, but I’ll maintain some suspense and save the full details of the comings and goings for Part 2…
• Best player - Beto, a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal squad
• Best signing - N/A, but the window is approaching…
• Best youth breakthrough - N/A, check back next season