It’s your first day. You arrive at the club. You meet the Head of Youth Development. The Chief Scout. The Head Performance Analyst. Technical Director. Loan Manager. Head of Sports Science. Head Physio. Your head spinning, you try to make sense of the crashing wave of information pouring over you, and take the first incipient steps toward a drink problem at your lunch break. Well, worry no more, and drink a little less. We’re going to look at Staff Roles in FM 21, and I’ll give you as much information as I have about what they do.
Director of Football
Ah, the Director of Football. Bane of managers everywhere. Or is he? Can he be a useful adjunct to your management of the team? I’ll argue yes. The DoF has one special power that no one else has: he can suggest transfer targets. These won’t necessarily be players you have shortlisted, or even scouted; just players he thinks could help the team at the position indicated. Is it perfect? By no means. Sometimes he will recommend people you couldn’t afford if you sold your entire team. Sometimes he will recommend a 38-year-old semi-retiree. But sometimes, he’ll find you just the right player, and you’ll be glad you asked.
Now, the DoF can do a lot of other things, too. They can handle transfers and contract signings for you, they can deal with staff. And if you go without a chief of another department, they can often do those jobs too (like assigning scouts, or minding loans). It’s all in the Staff Responsibilities pages, where you can delegate a wide range of things to your DoF.
Head of Youth Development
Your HoYD is the person responsible for bringing youth players from your academy into your youth teams. This means that their abilities and personality are probably more important to the long-term success of your club than any of the staff roles in FM 21. Ideally, you want a HoYD who shares your outlook on playing mentality, formation, and who has a great personality to instill in the youngsters he brings through. You want the mentality and formation to match, so that he’ll focus on players who fit your scheme. You want the personality because he’ll have a good deal of influence over the development of these kids, and some of them will come out sharing his personality traits. Working With Youngsters is an important attribute here.
All of this is not to say you can’t go without one. If you’re at a lower-league club, with a limited wage budget, a HoYD may be an expense you can afford to go without. Your players will develop in a limited manner anyway if you’re not fully professional, and by the time they develop into their potential, that potential will no longer be enough to make the team. So save yourself the money at least until you go pro.
The Chief Scout. Potentially a very useful employee, if you don’t feel like micromanaging the scouting team yourself. If you do enjoy the day to day management of scouting assignments, then by all means skip over the Chief Scout, and save yourself some money. Or, because the job comes with more prestige, sign the best scout you can find to be your “chief” scout, only they’ll just be another tool in your kit once they arrive. You can find a better quality scout this way.
If you’re not bothered about telling the scouts where they should be scouting, a chief scout can be useful. They can handle the scouting team, assigning recruitment analysts and scouts to targets or regions as needed. They can present the scouting meetings to you, and provide advice at recruitment meetings too. Like the HoYD, this is one you can skip for a lower-league team, as their salary won’t be helpful to your bottom line.
Head Performance Analyst
This is one on which there is little information, but we can infer some from the Chief Scout. Like the head of the recruitment team, the head of the analytics team can handle assigning the performance analysts to tasks as needed, or you can take it on yourself. And because they’re also a qualified analyst, they can usually be pressed into service as well. This is one you can probably pass by for a lower league team, if you have any performance analysts at all (though I recommend one at least).
Performance Analyst vs. Recruitment Analyst
Another crucial distinction of staff roles in FM 21 is between the two kinds of analysts. Performance analysts go through the data your team generates, using them to build an analysis of your performance. Pretty self-evident, right? The main use for a performance analyst to a lower-league team is for the ability to provide Match Preview and Match Review training sessions. These can be valuable in building team cohesion, as well as tactical familiarity. For an upper-league team, you might also have a performance analyst looking at your next opposition. Another might be watching your team as you play, to give you updates and advice during the match.
Recruitment analysts, on the other hand, use data to assess potential targets for acquisition. They look at available data on a given player, weighing up his abilities as expressed in the performance he puts on the field. They compare him to other similar players, to give an idea of the player’s comparable value.
The technical director is one you can definitely skip until you reach the upper levels of the game. Their job is to recruit and manage staff members, provide for ongoing training and professional development, and give advice to the manager about all of it. At a lower-league club, you don’t have enough staff to make it worth having a technical director. At a higher-level club, you may find it very convenient to have someone handling these usually dull tasks.
The loan manager is exactly what it says on the tin. They manage your loanees. For obvious reasons, then, this is a staff member you only need when you’ve got a significant number of loanees out. They provide reports on whether players are being given sufficient or agreed playing time. They report on whether players are getting the right position play, and their progress as professionals. A useful adjunct to the staff roles in FM 21.
Head of Sports Science
The head of sports science (or HoSS, as I’m going to call them) is pretty much a total mystery. Like the sports scientists that they manage, it’s not always very clear what they do for the team. Obviously, the sports scientists manage injury data, reporting on how the team is doing in terms of injuries. But what relationship the HoSS has to the team is quite unclear. Until there’s a defined role there, I have to recommend not bothering with a HoSS. Unless it really bugs you to have empty people outlines on your staff screen.
The head physio is easier to imagine as a job: they manage the physios. The physios, in turn, manage the health of the players, or help to heal their injuries. Like the HoSS, the head physio is a bit of a mystery creature, but they can at least work as a physio themselves. And like chief scouts, the higher prestige of the job will usually attract someone who wouldn’t take a simple physio job from your club, with higher skills.
A confusing first day is to be expected at a new club. But hopefully this guide to staff roles in FM 21 will help you make more sense of whom you’re being introduced to, and what their role will be in helping you bring the club to success.
You might enjoy these other articles from Dictate the Game:
- Personalities to Look For and Avoid
- Personalities to Look For: 5 of the Best
- Maximising Your Team Talks
- Always Be Upgrading
- The Team Behind The Team