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How to Get a Head Start in Football Manager

In a race it is the one with the quickest reflexes, the one who gets going as soon as the race starts, that has that marginal advantage. This is why I want to get started on certain aspects of the game before I press that first continue. This article will give you an insight on how I get this head start. The examples will be from my current save with Toulouse FC in the French Ligue 1.

Start by assessing…

The first thing I want to do after the chairman hands over the keys, is assess the players at my disposal.  Especially if I am not familiar with the players or league, I need to do two things before I head over to the Squad screen.

Your assistant manager

The assistant manager´s judgement on players´ability and potential will be my first impression of the squad. So I head over to his profile to see to what I extent I can trust his judgement.

I will have a look at the players´attributes and come up with a conclusion on their ability myself. Therefore a 13 at judging player ability is good enough for me. That 17 for judging player potential is amazing for this level though! I want to be able to trust my assistant manager´s judgement when it comes to potential ability.

Your opponents

First I look at the favourite team and a couple of average clubs in the league to get an idea of the level of players my team will be competing against.  The team comparison screen (found under “Team Report” tab) can also give an idea of where your team is at. I don´t give these comparisons too much weighting though as I feel that the average numbers can be skewed a bit.

Your squad

Then I finally head over to my Squad.  The first view I set up here is a general one.

My general squad view. As much info as possible for that first impression.

The first column is age.  It is of no concern in this case because I like the age distribution at first glance.  I can also see that there is quite a good balance, position-wise, when it comes to players with 3+ ability.  I will have a look at this in more detail later on, but so far so good.  Potential ability also looks fairly promising.  Personality, however, is a different matter.  Too many “neutral” personalities here, particularly balanced, which is not good news for real-life players.  Only 4 first team players have positive personalities: 3 resolute and 1 driven.  I will certainly try to have more positive personalities in the team going forward.  I also look out for possible captains here. In this case, Reynet seems like a good option as he has good ability, leadership, determination, personality, age and nationality.

Your players

The next step is looking at my players´ ability to do what I ask from them. I have a list of key and secondary attributes for each role I might be needing, and I create squad views for each.  Below you can see one of these views (for central defenders).  Looking at this view, I can see that we have this department well-covered. I include the reserves and youth team in this view because I often find players who deserve to be immediately promoted to the first team.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who´s the best defender of them all?

Going through each position in this way is important for me. It gives me an idea on which areas need improvement. In general, I adapt my tactics to the team´s capabilities in the first season, so this process puts me in a better position to decide on the possible formations I can use with this team. 

Your set-piece takers

I also set up a view to help me see who are the best set-piece takers on my team.  As you can see below, there are quite a few attributes, because I do not believe that one attribute alone can tell me who is the best at set-pieces. For example, I should expect better corner deliveries from Boisgard than from Sylla despite both them both having 11 at corners. This view also highlights the need of a good set-piece taker, or two.

Who are the best set-piece takers?

Your contracts

Another important squad view at this point can be seen below.

This shows me is the wage compared to agreed playing time and ability., amongst other things.  In the above example, one player who immediately stands out is Sanogo, who is 2nd on the list.  This means that a fringe player is the second-highest earner at the club.  This does not make sense and so he will top the list of players who are on their way out.  This same view also shows me contract expiry dates.  By sorting according to date, I can see whose contract is expiring and offer new contracts where necessary.

Wrapping it up

Now that I have gone over the squad, assessed strengths, weaknesses and opportunities and set my mind on possible formations to train, I can move on to the next steps.  I still have to look at the non-playing staff, set up pre-season friendlies and a couple of other small things.  You already have enough to take in here, so I will cover these in another article.

What about you? Are there any things you have to do on that first day on the job?

Feel free to comment here or contact me on Twitter @ScoreMoreFM with any questions, clarifications or feedback.

Thank you for reading, and enjoy the game 🙂

PS. I would like to thank the team at for their help and the opportunity and FMTahiti for the amazing feature image. Thank you

Written by ScoreMore

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