The Plan of Action

When setting up a save on Football Manager (FM), can we call it a save, maybe we can call it a career? With the styles of writing, video and social media updating that we see in the FM community, it is almost a career, with people going to great lengths to produce a character, plot line and more, myself included at times.

When you start your ‘save’, when you load up the screen to select the leagues, select the depth you want to impliment into the start of the journey, what do you plan, what is your Plan of Action?

I have had many different methods for my own Plan of Action, one to discuss would be my 2017 youtube series with Bram Ellison, a fictional managerial character that in 2016 become a part of my life. He joined me in Football Manager 2016 (FM16) at FC United of Manchester, coming through the youth intake in season one, at that point I never dreamed of the journey we would have together;

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A man, a captain, a leader and without a doubt the greatest regen I have ever had and one that I didn’t want to let go of so I didn’t. When Football Manager 2017 (FM17) got released, I fired up my new journey with the plan of making the player Bram Ellison into a managerial legend, bringing a part of FM16 into the world of FM17.

The Plan of Action I wanted to delve into on this post is my initial planning for 90% of my saves, careers, journeys or what we shall call them. I did a piece a while ago for FM Samo on his website about playing Football Manager in ‘hard mode’ and this is what I would say is my ‘Plan of Action’ and I wanted to look at a new save and some of the methods I am taking within it do explain my plan of action and maybe help you decide what yours is. A solid plan can make a save start off on a good path and make it a successful save, by successful, I am referring to the discussion six months later about the save still being active, success is judged by enjoyment, not trophies.

Day one for me and I am in planning mode with a few simple questions to ask and answer:

  1. How strong is the first team, depth in positions
  2. Do I have any talent in the youth teams, players who can step into x11, x16 or reserve
  3. What does my assistant tell me in the team report screens, any players stand out, good or bad.
  4. Staff, are they of good quality, can they be replaced (finance depending)
  5. Training, when is my first game, how long do I have to prepare for it.
  6. Scouting, how far can we go, what do we need
  7. Finances… last but never least, how much do we have, how much do we spend each month.

The Answers:

1: Looking through the team, I have 19 players currently in the first team. 2x goalkeeper, 3x full backs, 4x central defenders, 4x wingers, 4x central midfilders and 2x striker.

The squad is lacking in areas in terms of back up, we could do with at least 1 more defender, midfielder and attacker but before I go rushing on to the transfer list, lets look at number 2.

2: My youth set up, it is not the greatest but I believe it has scope to work, we have some players who have good ability in certain areas, I have a defensive midfielder who can play defence and central midfield. Also known as ‘gold’ to myself. A player who can cover 3 positions through the heart of a team and has ability can become a very key player to your squad. Often finding himself missing out when teams are fully fit but a player who is always in the squad due to how versatile he is.

3: The team report, a screen that can often break your heart. You find a player in your squad at quick glance he looks a talent, then you enter this screen to find out that he hates big games and can’t handle pressure! On the other side of things, you could find that your whole team is professional and ready to win and you leave the screen with a smile on your face ready to win the champions league with AFC Wimbledon in season three!

4: My staff are decent, I would like to replace my coach as he can’t really do anything and he looks like he cant motivate himself with only 1 for that stat. I can replace him and would have a space free but we best wait to check the finances first.

5: I have 2 weeks before my first friendly, this is where planning to make sure they don’t get injured comes in. Hitting very high fitness training in week one can cause issues. Looking for ball control on medium week one, ease them in then some high fitness week two of pre season in lead up to the game seems to be the way to go in saves I have had in the past so I will give that a go.

6: We can only scout local, what is the chances that they have 2 or 3 u18’s at other local clubs to me who are going to improve me going forward? Slim I would say so my first aim is to see if we can improve the first team for this window, get my scouts out looking for first team players then maybe later in the season we can look at the local youth.

7: Oh dear, maybe we should have looked first… 45k in the bank, this scraps my plans to sack my coach as he wants 4k and money is not at a premium so I think it’s best we wait. In terms of signings, we are now limited to the free transfer market and in terms of wages, well, we don’t have any. Can we sell anyone, no, we discussed in part 1 how I am short of players so we are now left with two options; 1: Wait for my scout to return and see if any players he finds at local clubs can be loaned to us. 2: Bring him back and look for some young players now to sign who will come in on £5 a week youth contracts.

This was a look into my planning into a Football Manager save, I love to try to balance the books, I love to use my staff, scouts and coaches, trusting my assistants opinions and as the saves grow into careers, love affairs or more, I like to know I have found friends within the game who stay with me for years as we follow the journey of a Football Manager.


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