The Football Factory | Part Four | Squad Planning

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In order to build a squad which fits the Philosophy I spoke about in Part Two it is important to remember two things:-

  1. We still need to compete while I build this squad, which means no wholesale and sudden changes, and;
  2. It’s going to take time and patience to find the right players, especially with our current scouting setup.

With this in mind, I want to walk you through exactly how I plan on building and improving my squad over the next few seasons, and the tools that I’m using to help me get to where I want to be

The first thing I wanted to do was analyse my current squad, and see where the weaknesses and strengths were, and which players fit my goal philosophy and who doesn’t. I had previously spoken about wanting a base-line level of 14 for the 5 attributes I was focusing on, however with our scouting capacity and the quality of player available to us, this isn’t realistic – 12 will do, and I’m taking an average across the 5 attributes. As we progress as a club this will of course rise to an average of 14, and then potentially to a minimum of 14, but that will depend on our progression.

In order to analyse the current squad of players, I created a spreadsheet (because that’s what all the cool kids do, right?) which colour-codes a player’s attributes across a range, and takes an average across the 5 attributes and also colour-codes that. It looks like this:

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 07.33.00.png

Now, what quickly becomes apparent looking at this is the distinct lack of green, and a massive number of players who are way, way below the benchmarks I’m looking at. The Keep/Sell column isn’t an indicator of who I’m immediately going to move on, but rather a guide for me that if someone comes in for a player marked ‘sell’, and we’re able to find a replacement that’s better (there’s a row for ‘Prospect’), then they’re free to leave, regardless of how well they’re playing at that given moment. The idea is essentially to move on all the players who average under 12, replace them (ideally with players averaging 13/14), and then repeat the whole process until the entire squad is at the level I want them to be.

The spreadsheet has a dual function: it also allows me to set up mentoring groups for each of the positions, as it gives me a top-level view of who is excelling, and who needs help to develop.

The second tool that I’ve used to help me analyse my squad actually fits quite nicely with the spreadsheet; I’ve built a squad view which shows me a player’s position, Tactical Familiarity, personality, CA/PA, contract details, attributes and training focus. I might remove the training focus as I’m not sure it’s actually beneficial (I’d much prefer to be able to change their additional focus straight from the squad screen), but as a whole the view works perfectly for me.

Screen Shot 2018-11-09 at 07.40.43.png

Of course, it is likely that you’ll take a unique approach to analysing and building your own squads, however if you do want to use either of the tools I’ve spoken about (which are pretty easy to customise for what you need), then the download links are at the bottom of the article.

Now that my squad analysis is out of the way, and I’ve identified the players I want to keep, and potentially build around, my next step is to think about tactics, how we’re going to play this season, and then (hopefully) start playing some games! My next instalment will talk about our pre-season, our transfers and our tactics, and then we can get to the actually exciting part of the game and start playing some proper games!

Download Links

Squad Planner

Squad View

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