I was actually amazed at how much money you can make from friendlies. This particular method is perfect for lower league clubs who would usually struggle with finances over the course of the season.
In this guide I will take a scenario where no friendlies are played after the season has started, and a club that play regular friendlies and look at the positives and negatives for both. I will select a club which don’t have the greatest of finances and go from there.
The greatest feature of this guide is it can be applied to any club, but works especially well with lower league clubs who wouldn’t usually get this sort of income. If you are wanting to build a club from the ground up, this guide may be particularly useful for you.
In order to generate the most profit, it is encouraged that your friendlies are with nearby teams so that the cost is as minimal as possible. For example in this particular experiment I have shown a screenshot of the cost it would cost me for a friendly against a suitable opposition and not a global giant:
As you can see the cost of this will be £4,500 and we will get an income of £12,000. This equals £7,500 in profit. It may not seem much but depending on the fee and income, it can turn out to be a very healthy sum of money which will help the club grow. These friendlies are very important, usually I won’t play my starting players as they will be exhausted come a competitive match day. I play a mix of youth and fringe players who are in and out of the team, almost treating the friendly as an Under 23/Reserve game.
For this particular experiment I will be using Kidderminster. They play their football in the Vanarama National North League and are predicted to finish fourth. There was no particular reason why I picked them, I just randomly selected a team in this league. I am going to do an update every two months so you can see the adjustments in finances.
As you can see the starting balance £135,070. The next screenshot will be taken from the 1st of October without friendlies, and will be followed by a screenshot which shows the finances with friendlies.
Above, the first screenshot of the finances which has absolutely zero friendlies in. As you can see the club has made a marginal loss over the course of the two months.
Now, lets take a look at the save with friendlies in. We managed to play 5 friendlies in the two month period, and it definitely has affected our finances.
This is the screenshot of the finances at the exact same time, but including the friendlies. You can already tell the difference, we actually make a profit from our starting balance. Approximately £16,000 was made in the two months the friendlies were played in.
Heading in to December and approaching the official transfer window, it’s important that small gains at the beginning of the season are put in to place so if there is a gap in the team you have the capability of signing them.
This was a massive hit for the club, and this shows the sheer importance of having friendlies during the season. The clubs finances have plummeted massively over the two month period resulting in a huge loss.
We played 7 friendlies during this two month period, but lost money. This isn’t much of a concern, as we would have lost a lot more without the income of the friendlies. We are currently £1,000 behind our original balance at the start of the season.
This is the first time we will see the club officially with no money and in minus. For a non-league club, finances are incredibly important in order to stay a float and progress. This can lead to so many problems such as the club going in to debt and facing point deductions, administration and not having enough wage budget to get the players you need in order to get out of the mess the club is in.
The club is clearly going through a hard time in terms of finances off the field, so these friendlies are keeping the club afloat. It is important to remember that every club will have different impacts, but one thing for sure is you will lose a lot less money than if you have no friendlies.
Not only are we massively in debt, we have completely flipped our starting balance. This is why I can’t stress how important friendlies are in the season, plus you aren’t obliged to play a fully strength team so try some new things. Even make your assistant in charge so you can spend time on more important matters.
The club again takes a massive hit, and loses almost £60,000 over the two month period. What is massively important is that we still have balance in the bank, and the same can’t be said about the save with no friendlies who are so far in the red the club is on the brink.
End of Season
As we approach the end of the season, I am sure you are very surprised at how much finances can change depending on playing friendlies throughout the season. Obviously, I have had little control over the team and what they are doing as well as signings so take this guide with a pinch of salt. If I was to spend time looking at every detail you would see the mass difference, and in the summary I will discuss some important factors to take in to consideration.
The finances are absolutely horrendous, and if you were wanting to build from this years position it would be jeopardised massively due to the overall balance of the club. Having a negative turnover to this extent at this level is fatal and will likely lead to complications and the future of the club would be in an awkward position.
The balance has gone further down, but has stayed above the minus figures which is incredibly important to the success of this article. If it was lower than the no friendlies then there would be serious issues.
Although there was little involvement for me as a manager the team with no friendlies finished 18th where as the team with friendlies finished 14th. Both aren’t great finishes, but that’s due to having no manager in charge of other areas of the club as I was on holiday.
The end of season balance for no friendlies was -£212,748. This has meant the club has spent £347,818 more than their original balance with no means of profit from the original £135,070.
The end of season balance including friendlies was £33,369. This has meant the club has made a loss of £101,710 from the original £135,070.
The difference was £246,117 from the save with no friendlies and friendlies. That should put things in to perspective. Just imagine spending a quarter of a million more each season and resulting in your club making huge financial losses. This is why arranging friendlies is very important during the season.
Are the financial gains worth it?
I think this experiment speaks volumes. We may have lost money, but we are making money in a way in which we would not be in any financial difficulty. I would suggest that organising a friendly every available opportunity might not be the best for injuries/player fitness, but if you have the depth or ability to change the team so that fringe players and youngsters play then take this opportunity. I can assure you this would work with almost any club, but the financial gains for a lower league club are much greater than they are with a team that are giants.
I think everyone should really consider this method as a way of improving the team in several areas. Not only are the money benefits fantastic, just imagine you was at a stable club who could generate a profit each month resulting in long term profit. It would allow you to improve the club on and off the pitch, with better players and more chance of the board improving training/youth facilities.
Even if you can’t organise a friendly all the time, just do it when you can. It really is beneficial and this experiment hopefully will have proved that for you.
Benefits other than finances?
Where do I begin? Match Fitness greatly improved for starters. If your team isn’t completely familiar with the tactic then they can practise in a game scenario. Other benefits include morale improvements. As you will be playing lesser opposition, and your team is more likely to win the morale will improve and will reflect in actual games.
I believe money may be the biggest benefit, but there are so many little factors that will improve, like partnerships for example if players are playing with the same people. Injuries as well, may be a benefit, although I have not looked to much in to it, but generally players who are match fit and in good condition will last longer in a game then those who have played few games resulting in less match sharpness.
Will I suffer more injuries?
Below is a screenshot of the injuries occurred over the season WITH friendlies:
And here is the screenshot of the injuries WITHOUT friendlies:
Both are very similar, although without friendlies there was 2 more injuries. Injuries in the game can be down to several factors including overplaying, luck and fatigue . Like I have said throughout this, I wouldn’t advise playing your strongest team in friendlies. Use fringe players and youngsters. This means that players can also get match fit, if they are needed for the first team.
How to alter contracts so you make even MORE money
This is a simple solution. When you offer a player a contract there is often bonuses such as Appearance bonus and unused substitution bonus. Where possible remove these so that when you play a game you are not paying the player any more money than there actual salary. This is very effective, and depending on the success of the article I will look at the difference in money generated without bonuses in the contract. I stick with this step at any level of club I go to, as it really can eat your balance up.
I really hope you have enjoyed this article. I wanted to get across the importance of friendlies during the season and their overall impact on the club on and off the pitch.
Just to quickly reiterate what we have found out: We lost a little bit of money over the season, but nowhere near as much as we lost without friendlies. We finished the season 4 places higher than without friendlies. We suffered fewer injuries. I can’t stress the importance of these and their benefits.
Other articles you may enjoy:
- What If USA Had Pro/Rel | FM19 Experiment
- Football Manager 2019 Guides | Youth Development
- Training in FM19: How to develop, motivate and condition players in your training plan
- Football Manager 2019 Guides | Bossing Pre-Season
- ‘Started from the bottom now we here’ – An FM Guide: Going from Semi-Pro to Pro
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