Football Manager Series Catch-All

Overview
First released in 1992, the Football Manager (originally Championship Manager) series sets the standard for sports management simulations. You can take control of any one of hundreds of teams in dozens of leagues around the world. The depth of the game is remarkable, with transfers, stats, contract negotiations, press conferences, locker room morale, training, match management, tactics, and more to keep you busy.

Can you start as an unknown manager in the bottom ranks of nowhere and take a team to the heights of glory? Or can you jump in right at the top, and manage one of the elite European football clubs to continued success?

Post here with your questions, your stories of triumph and defeat, your ideas and opinions. Newbies welcome! The game can be overwhelming at first, so don't be shy with questions.

Links
Football Manager 2017 on Steam
(link suggestions welcome, will develop over time)

My friend and I have been laughing ourselves sick about how the government of Qatar Paris Saint-Germain and this recent transfer window has utterly obliterated the structure of FM 17's transfer market. Like, I saw a news story about Barcelona making a "huge" bid for N'Golo Kante...

...for $54M. That's less than Kyle Walker cost City. Danny freaking Drinkwater just went to Chelsea for £35m for criminy's sake.

I genuinely think, at least as of FM 17, that SI had no idea the amount of money being pumped into the game at the highest levels. I have seen barely any $100M+ transfers in the game, much less a $250M one. I don't even know if a team could make enough money in FM 17 to afford a $250M transfer (much less, then follow it with a $214M "Loan").

Like, they're going to have to invent a new level of Sugar Daddy. Specifically, one called "Oil Sheik".

Prederick wrote:

My friend and I have been laughing ourselves sick about how the government of Qatar Paris Saint-Germain and this recent transfer window has utterly obliterated the structure of FM 17's transfer market. Like, I saw a news story about Barcelona making a "huge" bid for N'Golo Kante...

...for $54M. That's less than Kyle Walker cost City. Danny freaking Drinkwater just went to Chelsea for £35m for criminy's sake.

I genuinely think, at least as of FM 17, that SI had no idea the amount of money being pumped into the game at the highest levels. I have seen barely any $100M+ transfers in the game, much less a $250M one. I don't even know if a team could make enough money in FM 17 to afford a $250M transfer (much less, then follow it with a $214M "Loan").

Like, they're going to have to invent a new level of Sugar Daddy. Specifically, one called "Oil Sheik".

Haha. Yes, good point.

I do wonder what SI will be doing about that. In my current game I think someone went for $90m, which seemed a pretty decent amount, all things considered. But all this explosion in player cost has only come up in the past few months, and the game is set to release in November. I think it'd be tricky to get right, from a gaming perspective.

Does FM 17 even had Financial Fair Play rules in the game? It's so far beyond where I'm at with the game that I haven't even considered it.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Does FM 17 even had Financial Fair Play rules in the game? It's so far beyond where I'm at with the game that I haven't even considered it.

They do. The Championship FFP was a pain in the butt when they hobbled me in an FM16 game.

In my Real Oviedo game (which I guess would be FM14) I was spending in the £80-100m range on a player every few years when I finally got to the top. But FM is at its least interesting when you're at the top of the club soccer heap - it's very difficult to find players of sufficient calibre to maintain or improve your team, decent youth players with good enough potential are nearly impossible to find, and you can't do much wheeling-dealing, which is where I have the most fun.

Meanwhile, I'm absolutely over the moon because promotion to the German Second Division comes with €3.7m in TV money. Which, after debt repayment, lifts my bank balance all the way to about €120,000.

Not including trials I've signed 41 players in three years for a total transfer outlay of €0. If you include trials I'm not sure there are numbers large enough to count. If everyone says yes I'll have 17 trialists by the first pre-season game.

The second pre-season game might be a first team made up entirely of trialists against a second team made up entirely of trialists.

With the bit extra salary cap we have available I signed Central Defenders Four Cough and Singing Breadsticks to one year deals, which means among players I actually own I'm now only missing a Left Back and a Central Midfielder from a starting eleven.

Werder Bremen are sniffing around the Twelve Foot Pizza, so I might also need a new Goalie.

The club was over €3m in debt? Wow. They must be thrilled to turn the books around.

Mr Bismarck wrote:

Werder Bremen are sniffing around the Twelve Foot Pizza, so I might also need a new Goalie.

Noooo!!! Say it ain't so! Must keep Twelve Foot Pizza!

Should mention, I believe yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the original Championship Manager release.

25 years. Literally billions, possibly trillions of man-hours wasted trying to get Billericay Town to the Champions League Final.

I had that red box with the fat pointing man on the front, but it was the green box '93 version that really got its hooks into me.

After that the versions that got thousands of my hours were based on what was happening in my life and seemed to be one year before the widely recognised "best" releases.

First off, 00/01 even though 01/02 is lauded as possibly the best version of CM. Then FM07 is put forward as the best of the early visual match engines, but I had moved to a new country with just a laptop and a copy of FM06.

CM'93, CM97, CM00/01, FM06 and FM10 are probably the individual games I've put four figure hours into.

FM07 is still my favourite. There was apparently a bug in it that had the nationality of newgens being influenced by the player's scouting knowledge and being a patriotic Canadian I had a scout or two working Canada back in those days plus when my club got big enough I scouted pretty much every region.

A St. Kitts and Cook Islands international strike partnership for my title-winning Newcastle sides was fun. By signing and developing almost every Canadian I could find there were about 15 Canadians good enough to carry me to a loss on penalties to Argentina in the final of a (home!) World Cup. I had a Canadian striker who was 4th-choice for my Newcastle side and couldn't buy a goal but put him in a Canada shirt and he was banging home a goal-a-game. The final of that World Cup was watching him make Messiesque runs at the Argentina defense but never being able to beat the keeper.

FM10 was also a particularly good year.

This a hairsbreadth off being a real-life FMing..

A true FMing would be if they'd lost 1-0.

Prederick wrote:

This a hairsbreadth off being a real-life FMing..

A true FMing would be if they'd lost 1-0.

and here I thought Jussi Jääskeläinen was Finnish.

Prederick wrote:

This a hairsbreadth off being a real-life FMing..

A true FMing would be if they'd lost 1-0.

"It could have been worse for Les Bleus, though, as Luxembourg substitute Gerson Rodrigues outpaced Laurent Koscielny in the 79th minute before seeing his shot strike an upright."

They almost did lose 1-0.

These games are super memorable and frustrating to be a part of. When I read about France-Luxembourg, I immediately thought of a game I coached last year that was the same in terms of one-sided play. I figured it was just me, but this morning I was talking to my daughter (who was on the team I coached last year) about the France-Luxembourg game, and she immediately brought up the exact same game I had been thinking of: "Remember that game we played last year when we had 20+ shots and tied 0-0?" It's funny how these things stick in your memory.

Y'know, almost all the time in my FM career, I've been a one-club man. I think, this time around, I'm going to switch it up and do a "Journeyman" game, based on a YouTube series I quite enjoyed.

The premise is pretty simple. Run a bunch of leagues, and start out with absolutely ZERO qualifications of any kind. Then, work your way up to the big-time. I've wanted to do it for a while now, although I'm probably still not running enough leagues (55).

Have any of the mobile versions been worth a look?

Prederick wrote:

Y'know, almost all the time in my FM career, I've been a one-club man. I think, this time around, I'm going to switch it up and do a "Journeyman" game, based on a YouTube series I quite enjoyed.

The premise is pretty simple. Run a bunch of leagues, and start out with absolutely ZERO qualifications of any kind. Then, work your way up to the big-time. I've wanted to do it for a while now, although I'm probably still not running enough leagues (55).

I've always been tempted to try one of these, but I can never really sink my teeth into into it. The initials teams you get frustrate me, and I always go back to wishing I was coaching Everton.

Maybe if I get more time this winter I will give it another try, maybe with a goal of coaching Everton in X years.

I mean, I'm only in on it now that I've done my games with a couple big clubs. I'm now the Manager at Worcester City F.C., and it's amazing. I signed a player with a pace of 15, and he's been easily our best player in the preseason. Sure, his Determination is a 4 and his First Touch is a 3, but he runs REALLY FAST and that's like 4/5ths of the battle at this level.

Prederick wrote:

I mean, I'm only in on it now that I've done my games with a couple big clubs. I'm now the Manager at Worcester City F.C., and it's amazing. I signed a player with a pace of 15, and he's been easily our best player in the preseason. Sure, his Determination is a 4 and his First Touch is a 3, but he runs REALLY FAST and that's like 4/5ths of the battle at this level.

I've only played low level teams. I love it down there.

I've never gotten to the top, so I'm not sure it matters, but I'm always torn between taking one club all the way or just taking myself all the way.

I've never had much success managing down the divisions because I'm pretty bad at the tactics part of the game. Only success I've had has been taking clubs down in the English or Spanish pyramid with big stadiums for their division up.

Putting on my 'arry 'at and wheelin-dealin my way up from a mid-table club in a big European league (or as low as the Championship in England) is what I enjoy most

garion333 wrote:

Have any of the mobile versions been worth a look?

I played FM Mobile 2017 for a dozen hours or so. It's a trimmed-down version for sure, comparable - in my memory at least - to a polished CM/FM of twelve years ago. Which was a feature not a bug for me, as I no longer have the time nor mental stamina to spend tens of hours on one single season.

What turned me off in the end though was the lack of 2D match view. There's only the old skool text boxes, but I'm unable to distill the ebb and flow of a game through those. Sure, you're presented with a few bullet points after each game on the positive and negative aspects (if I read 'lack of steel in midfield' one more time...) but that didn't feel right to me. YMMV of course.

Roke wrote:

I've never had much success managing down the divisions because I'm pretty bad at the tactics part of the game. Only success I've had has been taking clubs down in the English or Spanish pyramid with big stadiums for their division up.

Putting on my 'arry 'at and wheelin-dealin my way up from a mid-table club in a big European league (or as low as the Championship in England) is what I enjoy most

Wouldn't the tactics be harder at the higher levels?

________________

I finally got back to AFC Telford this evening, and made another month's progress, which takes us to the beginning of December. We continued our hot streak, winning three of four league matches and picking up two cup wins. Our last match was perhaps our most dramatic, as we knocked off the 1st place team from the Vanarama National League (the league above ours) 4-1 at home to advance to the second round of the FA Trophy Cup. We end the month in first place in the Vanarama National North league, up by three points over second.

I'm getting job offers from numerous teams now, probably five or six in total came in during the month. I actually interviewed for two teams in the National League, and landed one job with Forest Grove, who sit mid-table but are massively in debt. I turned it down. Unless something really juicy comes in, I'm inclined to see out the season at Telford.

The month has come with drama though. Kasheme Walton, our striker who leads the league in scoring, missed two weeks with a calf injury, came back for one game, then pulled a hamstring that will keep him out for another 2-3 weeks. So far, others have been able to pick up the slack.

And a left back has taken his lack of playing time public and is trying to stir things up in the clubhouse. I'm trying to put that fire out as well. The main issue is that he can only play LB, which doesn't work at all in our 3-1-4-2 DM formation. I had been planning to shift back and forth between that formation and a 4-4-2, but with the 3-back defense working so well, I haven't been inclined to shift.

But in the grand scale, things are good. We have sole position of first place. We are running 15% below our allotted salary cap. Our players, fans, and board are happy. I'm not sure if we'll be able to hold up as we cross into the new year, but for now things are good.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Wouldn't the tactics be harder at the higher levels?

Indeed. In the National League North, the instructions I'm sending these guys out with are basically "We're playing a 4-4-2, try to score more goals than we give up".

In other news, we got a near-legendary FMing against Tamworth today.

Worcester (Me): 18 shots, 10 on target. 4 Clear cut chances, 6 half chances.

Tamworth: 3 shots, 1 on target. 1 Clear cut chance.

The game ended 1-1.

But let me be SPECIFIC. The game ended 1-1 when my left back tried to clear the ball, kicked if off a midfielder's back and into the path of a Tamworth midfielder, who played a simple pass to their striker who scored.

Haha. I just did a similar thing. In the last few minutes of the first half the other team got two red cards. We were tied 1-1 at the half. With an 11 versus 9 against a much weaker team I figured we'd cruise in the second half.

Despite a boatload of shots and chances we never got another goal. 1-1 draw.

In our defense, our best striker isn't back to full form yet, and the magic just ran out on our second tier of scorers.
____

I finished December of our second season just now. We had a great run in the early part of the month, winning four convincing games. Our last two have been super frustrating, a 1-0 loss and that 1-1 draw. Still, the wins in the early part of the month were enough for us to open up an 8-point lead atop the standings and get me another Manager of the Month award.

On the macro level, things have gotten more interesting. I've got an offer from an Irish Premier League team to take over at the end of the current season. It would double my salary from its current 30k. I've been trying to use this leverage to get Telford's board to improve the youth facilities at the club, but no matter how much I push they aren't budging. I've now refused to negotiate contract terms for next season.

I'll most likely turn down the Irish offer anyway, but it's getting frustrating to see our stingy board hoarding the 400k we've banked in the past year and a half. The way things are going, my goal of trying to take Telford to the Premier League might be derailed before its third season.

How many leagues do people run, by the way?

I'm a completionist, myself, so I've literally never run less than 40 in years.

Prederick wrote:

How many leagues do people run, by the way?

I'm a completionist, myself, so I've literally never run less than 40 in years.

About the same, I generally ignore the star system they put up, I have no idea how that works, but it doesn't seem to match my pc spec.

We've had a respectable start to life in Division Two, but I didn't really get the business done I wanted to in the off-season and so the team is very light in a few positions.

We have eight points from five games, (W2 D2 L1), but it has been hard work and I don't imagine we'll keep up that sort of pace once we get a few injuries and the depth of the squad is exposed.

We've had to switch away from our 4-1-4-1 to a more open 4-4-2 both because I bought another decent forward to play alongside Red Sonja and because we don't really have the quality to play defensive and sneak 1-0s against these better teams.

We did open with a 1-0 away to Dusseldorf, but it took an own goal and the game that followed was a 0-0 at home where we looked really toothless. We lost our following two games 0-1, (one in the cup, one in the league), which really cemented the need to move to something more offensive.

Since the move to 4-4-2 we came from behind twice against Paderborn for a 2-2 and beat Koln, (who were relegated from the top division just last season), 3-0!

The best part of the season so far though has been the development of central midfielder Bespoke Amphibian. Two season ago we had an excellent Italian MC called Extravagant Geoff who we'd sold to Verona and while we were in Italy we kdinapped Bespoke off Fiorentina's scrap heap and put him in the space Geoff had left.

He was developing nicely and clearly a solid player, but I kept watching his information screen waiting for him to learn German before I could really judge. This off-season he gained "German (basic)" and very quickly that became just "German" and he's really blossomed since, moving from 6.98 average in Division 3 to a 7.50 average so far in Division 2.

With that in mind I offered him a four year contract extension and he snapped at it. If he keeps playing like this there's no way he'll be on the team for those four years, but the contract does at least mean I can hold out for a serious fee for him.

Are your board expectations mid-table for your first season in Division Two? Is the transfer window shut now? With the National North league in England, I can pick up free agents at any point, and since I'm mostly garbage hunting I can add players as the season goes along.

I think my favorite part of the game, especially at the lower levels, is finding some rough diamond and watching them develop into a strong player. Bespoke Amphibian sounds like a great find!

Prederick wrote:

How many leagues do people run, by the way?

I'm a completionist, myself, so I've literally never run less than 40 in years.

I have 10 countries, probably about 30 leagues going. For lower level starts I've always been told that the "large" player base is key, so I picked that. I think my game speed thing came out to 3.5 stars. It's been running at a nice clip, but I have a fairly fast system.

The window is shut now, yes. I can pick up free agents and register them up until Christmas, I think, but this is the point where I switch over to the loan system. The AI will have its starting 11s set now so you can find some hot kids or grumpy grandpas hanging out in the reserve sides who aren't going to get a game, so won't mind coming over on loan and their club will be happier with less payment toward their wages, because the other option is paying all of it.

I really need some better Centrebacks, one more Central Midfielder and I would love to add some precocious flying youngster to tear up and down on the right wing. I have offers out, so we'll see how they go.

Sadly my parent club don't really have anything worth borrowing this year.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

I think my favorite part of the game, especially at the lower levels, is finding some rough diamond and watching them develop into a strong player. Bespoke Amphibian sounds like a great find!

This is generally my favorite part of LLM games as well. Sure, if you play with top teams long enough, you'll end up getting to watch your youngsters and regens grow into world-beaters, but I get a bigger kick out of seeing some kid I've literally never heard of before end up winning League 2 top goalscorer.

EDIT: I love it when this happens.

I made a bit more progress with AFC Telford this evening, playing the bulk of our January schedule.

Despite winning two league games and tying one game, our 1st place lead dropped to six points, as second place Brackley won all three of their matches. We did manage to open the gap up between us and the third and fourth place teams, which is making things start to look like a two-horse race.

On another positive note, we won another FA Trophy Cup match against a team in the league above us, beating last year's cup winners Dover in a strong 3-1 away win. We're down to the last 16 teams, and our next match is against a mid-table team in our own league.

Unfortunately, Kasheme Walton, our best striker, got hurt for a third time, on only his second game back from his previous injury. He hasn't scored for us in a month in a half, and is only now getting back on the pitch once again. I'm trying to nurse the guy back carefully, but for whatever reason he has turned to glass once the colder weather set in.

With Walton hurt, our offense has cooled to a degree, but our defense has risen to the challenge. Although we rarely get a clean slate, we tend to only concede one goal. Instead of winning 4-2 like we were in the early part of the season, we're now looking at a lot more 2-1 victories.

Looking ahead, we've got 13 games left, and our next seven games are against teams in the bottom half of the table. I'm hopeful that we can get Walton back in form and make a nice run to open up some distance between us and second place. Our last six games look tough. I'd feel a lot more comfortable with some wiggle room heading into the final stretch.

Mid-March now in Season 2 with AFC Telford...

In our stretch of seven easier games, we won 5 and tied 2. The second- and third-place teams, Brackley and Harrogate, played well, but we still managed to stretch our lead to 11 points. With six games to go, we've locked up at least a playoff spot for promotion to the Vanarama National League.

It's been a tremendous help to have Kasheme Walton back on the pitch and playing up to form. Even with two months of injury absence, he leads the league in goals scored, netting a goal for each 77 minutes he plays.

Five of our last six games are against teams in the top half of the table, including a match against second-place Harrogate. We need three wins to win the league. It's crunch time!