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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Football Manager: Not Everyone Is Yours, But All Is You.

In my last post, I shared two strategies I use while playing my Football Manager saves. They had to do with delegating responsibility and concentrating where you draw talent from. This post will also be dealing with club staff and scouting. This post isn’t going into any books on how to develop critical thinking. It sure as hell isn’t going to win any plaudits for outside the box thinking, but it will share my experience on a game I spend many hours on. Who needs more porn anyways? Well, I’m not one to say no to some publicity, but playing Football Manager with the manufactured moans of some contorted actress getting penetrating tested all in the interest of achieving that perfect moment in the background, isn’t an overlap that appeared in my head until now. It’s distracting. How else will the numbers get my undivided attention. I let the numbers woo me. The internet infrastructure has enough space for my blog and everything else.

Anywho. Here’s two more strategies that make my time virtual managing more efficient. 

1. Staff Retention

– When one begins a new save the option to fire all the remaining coaching staff from the previous regime is available. I would be sitting here with a long nose if I said the temptation to do this never manifested. However, when it comes to football(soccer) management, I think it’s bad practice. Even more so if you’re a relatively new player or its your first time in a leadership capacity, because this type of transition requires know how. If you start from scratch the hours required to scout and hire new staff will increase. 

What do you look for? Staff from the country you’re managing in or from the countries you hope to bring players in? Youth or experience? Do you yourself know the team and inner workings of the club well? Save yourself some time and invest that time in hiring people who will upgrade your coaching methods or to fill up vacant positions elsewhere on your staff.

 It would be wise to keep staff that knows the club well because it can be an asset as to not be walking blind. Those you keep must obviously occupy the standards you deem necessary to perform their job. If they fail or cause issues, your will to fire them isn’t muddled because you gave them a chance. Remember, this isn’t showing indecision on your part because the coaching staff isn’t entirely new. You made the decision to combine already there staff with your own new hires. You made that decision. That’s powerful stuff.

2. Clear Role Descriptions

– The goal of every player is to play. They want time on the pitch and to see their names on the team sheet. Unfortunately, not every player is starting material or needed in that capacity. When offering a scouted player a contract you must think hard about his role on the team. Do you need depth in your squad to challenge the starters and compete in several tournaments? Are you looking to bring in youth players to develop? Bench options that get 15-30 minutes? 

Being clear with this part of the negotiation saves you the trouble of that same player being unhappy later on over lack of playing time. Not being clear disrupts team morale by being a negative example to other players and shows your lack of preparation. It also tips the power dynamics in the players favor because if you cave in through error of your own, other players will begin making demands. Save yourself money and being part of a disadvantage position by having a clear idea of how your players will be utilized.

I again reiterate that I’m not breaking new ground here with my strategies. Experience and a few mistakes have given me information that I use to developed my strategies. Have a good week folks!

Football Manager: When Two is Better Than One

I play Football Manager to satisfy my fantasy of managing a football (soccer) team. It’s a simulation game that has you taking notes, creating spreadsheets, keep a budget and research their database for players. To some this might sound like work, but to me this sounds like my idea of a great time.

Over the last few years, I’ve gone from emerging myself into the deep end to somewhat formulating strategies that not only help my saves, but define me as a manager. I would like to share two of my strategies.

1.  Delegate

– I think the modern game is leaving the role of an all encompassing manager to a more defined one. The role of a manager should be above all to coach your time (training, tactics, matches) and not shoulder the full weight of other responsibilities (scouting, negotiations, transfers). As a manager you should fully take advantage of your staff and the club executives, such as the Director of Football to delegate responsibility. You save yourself time and a DoF can come to the rescue when a player you want to purchase is wearing on your negotiating skills. You should also assign various assignments to your scouts. I’m not saying to not dive into the deeper recesses of the FM database, but again delegating saves time. The modern game is a team effort on the pitch and among those who keep the club running. 

2. Location

– Before you begin to scout make sure to have a clear idea of where in the world you want players from. I advice to scout from three countries. It helps you familiarize yourself with what talent is available based on your needs. It also helps team chemistry because the team will have one or two common languages they share. Homesickness, miscommunication and lack of adapting are handled this way. Unless you give crappy peptalks… Of course every save will have different variables and challenges, such as your scouts pre-existing knowledge of a place influencing where you scout from or maybe you’re looking for a left-footed central midfielder with great decision stats and passing. Why do you think Lyon brought in many Brazilians during their dominant stretch or Brentford liking Scandinavian players? 

I hope these two strategies help any existing or new players thinking about virtual managing. I don’t think I’ve said anything profound. I’m fact, I’m sure I can dig deeper in another post about even more strategies.

Happy Autumn folks!

Press Release #1

Gael Oliver Arn-Talavera Becomes New Manager of Hibernian F.C.

In a bold move, the Leith based club appoints a newcomer to the job

 

By Gary Boathouse

May 13, 2013

 

Edinburgh, Scotland – Hibernian F.C. has a new man at the helm after a surprising move for the American born Gael Oliver Arn-Talavera. A self described passionate football fan, Gael is another manager who hasn’t played professional soccer. He was an editor and Content Marketeer before making the jump to professional football management.

 

Responding to the already mounting criticisms, Chairman Brown responded with “The club is looking for a fresh direction to move the club forward and Gael complimented our vision. Stability is needed if we are to challenge Celtic.” Gael continued, “My first priority is to keep the club in the highest level of Scottish football. It’s a new country and club, but we have a forward vision.”

 

Preseason is under way with the game against Dumbarton being on June 29, 2013. It is one of three games in preparation for the August 4 season opener against Motherwell.

Interview for Those Relegated Souls

Hello Readers,

It’s no secret that I play Football Manager. I find it to be a very rewarding game that will eat away countless hours of your life. With that in mind I can’t seem to pry myself away from progressing with the teams I play with. In this post I am assuming my current season with a second division team will end with us getting relegated to a lower division. That is the exact opposite of my goal for the season. Read along:

I: Tell me about yourself.

D: I’m a failed manager whose team got relegated to the 3rd division…

I: Last Place?

D: No. We were so close to staying where we were, but a bad run of form in the middle of the season and patchy form throughout the end condemned our relegation.

I:It’s all about form. Would you like to stay on as manager?

D: I would very much like to stay on as manager and bring the team back up to the second division. It feels like a take one step back and then take one step forward to end up where we started. It depends on the owner if I stay.

I: Seeing managers get more time to deliver results is something that should come back…

D: That’s the nature of the game today. It’s always been a results driven business, but that is inflated because of money. Money is plentiful to some in the game today.

I: You want to edit these results?

D: I can’t edit what has already happened. This isn’t a videogame where I can keep several saves and just go back to a previous one when results don’t go my way. The results of this season will stay in history, but I can achieve positive results that will push the current ones away.

I: Editing is part of my day. I will edit this interview and the show it’s on. It’s interesting how we have different ideas of editing. How will you spend your off-season?

D: I’ll take a short vacation before starting preparations for next season. I’m not saying a vacation is a reward. It’s a way to get rid of stress and come back with fresh eyes.

I: And the players?

D: I want them to enjoy the time they have to themselves. It helps to step away from a negative situation. There’s a lot of work to be done in both the physical and psychological sense.

I: You prepare the mind?

D: My staff, the medical department, and I put a lot of emphasis on mental management. I am not of the opinion that players shouldn’t expressed their emotions. Get angry! Celebrate in your style when scoring a goal! What we do is help players channel those emotions into the game. Emotions can become fuel if managed correctly.

I: I assume a lot of sad faces in the locker room after the last game.

D: Yes. I told my players it was okay to cry and make noise. I already had plans for preseason in that locker room. They need to know I’m looking ahead.

More of this fake interview will be available in the coming months. I hope you enjoyed reading the mindset of a defeated soccer manager. If you’ve read my blog from time to time you know that I view failures as opportunities to learn. I don’t think a person can have an 100% success rate all the time.

Fake.

A Loss is A WIn

Hello People of Earth,

Does anyone else play Football Manager? I played a game before bed last night and it was one of the most enjoyable losses I have ever suffered. How can you enjoy losing you say? The simple answer is that you don’t, but I do enjoy the insights that come from a defeat. My forwards have the shooting prowess of a drunken night out blindfolded knowing you’re in your neighborhood without knowing which door leads into your home. They were shit! So many near misses that would have tied us the game…

I now have to assign my coaches to work on their shooting or risk being Manchester United this season. During that game I took a chance on a highly rated youth player I had in my academy. We’re talking four star player. He had a FINE game playing against our opponent that the best player award went to him. It shows character when you recover from an early mistake to become the best player on the pitch for that game. The spot is his to lose from now on.

On to the next game! Our next opponent is considered the favorites, but my mission is to spoil that label. A string of W’s is preferred to boost my simulation gaming ego and to give the players motivation to play for a nobody manager who decided to start a new save. I’ll go back to playing later once my responsibilities are done.

Win.