Football Manager: Stay Young, Stay Old and Mix It All Around

Older people have experience, while youth has the drive and mentality to move forward new ideas. Before I have a bunch of canes and mortgage payments thrown at me, I’m not stating this as a universal truth. I’ve met older people who were very adaptable to change. And I’ve met younger people who get caught in a this is the way it should be bubble. However, in football (soccer) a squad that gives confidence to youth players with the steel and push of experience players is deadly.

 This approach saves a team from paying expensive transfer fees. In fact, a reputation as a talent developer, will have clubs with more money lining up to buy your players. It takes a balancing act to enjoy a couple of seasons of your young players before moving them on. We see too often that a player turns pro at 16 or 17 only for them to be sold before they turn 20. That’s not using your assets properly. You must keep your team competitive, AND MAKE A RUN FOR A TROPHY (looking at you whoever owns teams that just make money), while ensuring the club is financially healthy.

As you know, I’m going to connect this to Football Manager 2017. I deeply believe that a club should have an ethos of giving youth a platform to gain experience. For some of the bigger teams, domestic cup competitions is the way they give youth experience. There’s cases where teams don’t have a choice but to play youth. Regardless, you should set up a functioning youth setup that feeds players into your first team. You can do that by:

1. Scout youth

– Add age to your scouting parameters when giving your scouts assignments. For example, set a 17-20 age range where only players that fall in that age bracket will show up on the screen. I’m pretty sure the game also has a few age ranges you can already pick from. In a past article I’ve mentioned that location, role and money are also variables that should be tweaked when setting parameters. All of this should go together, but cannot be accomplished if the board doesn’t set apart money to run a scouting department. Here’s where you come in! You can always make requests to hire more scouts and to raise the staff wages to pay them. You can also make efficient use of whatever budget you have by going for youth players instead of established ones. This might require you to also comb through the database while waiting to hear back from your scouts. In some cases youth players are more inexpensive than established players, unless they have had a great international tournament or have a lot of promise. This all falls apart if youth are just acquired and not used.

2. Affiliate Yourself With Others

– A crucial thing to establish for the sake of both the youth structure you’re trying to set up and the whole team is becoming affiliated with another team. You have that option in Football Manager 2017. Some teams already have this, but if they don’t, you have to out in a request to the board. In my experience, they hardly ever turn this request down. All these requests make it seem like you’re a child who can’t even get juice without telling mommy because you go apeshit while on sugar or have not reached your growth spurt like the other kids still saying mommy, wait that doesn’t sound right… However, why should one establish links with their fellow peers within their industry? Does this even need to be a question? Networking. Networking. NETWORKING. And when one becomes a parent affiliate club to a feeder team or a team in the lower divisions, you have a set place to send your youth players on loan. They hopefully get experience and playing minutes that aids their development. You’ll still have to pay their wages and a small fee each season to the team you connect with, but in return, you get first dibs any of their player sales. It could be another way to find youth for your youth teams or gems that play in lower divisions. Some lower division teams rely on a youth setup and have the infrastructure in place. If you’re going to do this why not find a partner who shares the same core philosophy as you. It works in relationships and it’s something the corporate world preaches. You also save yourself time by not having to find other teams to send your players on loan. You also don’t have to set aside your preparations for a bit while waiting for your technical director to move these players for you. It helps to already have a team willing to take on your players for a fixed amount of time.

I’m detecting a wonderful smell in the kitchen so I’ll leave this like it is. I’m off to investigate this smell and hopefully eat whatever is causing it.

Stay youthful folks!  


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I blog about soccer, which is my passion and interest, because it has given me a lot of moments in which I have used the parts that make me human. History, life, and the other stuff I write about are the seasoning to all of this.

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