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How to create a title-winning squad on Football Manager

A guide which covers the most fundamental aspects of any title-winning side. Follow this guide and find yourself becoming one of the true legends within the game.

By Updated on May 09, 2014   106279 views   4 comments
Football Manager Guides - How to create a title-winning squad on Football Manager
Every new aspiring manager has dreams of building that title winning side. Whether it be in the depths of English football or at the top, in the Premier League. Whatever it may be some managers just can't find that winning solution that will bring them said success.

Do you want to be able to build a club that has the ability to win any competition at any level? Well this is the guide for you. It will lead you through many several fundamental steps which are key to reaching the goals you are aspiring to.

Evaluate The Squad

Whenever you take control of a new club, it's firstly key to know your players. This is when you will look into the squad and get a general idea of your squad's ability. You might already have plans for your club and where you want to take them in the future, but this step should not be missed as it is a way of knowing the players you have at your disposal.

One thing to do is to look at your players Potential Ability (PA) and their Current Ability (CA). This lets you quickly get an idea of each and everyone of your players' skill level and what they can be worth to your team. This is a basic way of determining their true ability. The other way is to go into each and every player and look at their stats which will give you the idea of their ability. Remember to not judge a player on attributes that do not matter to his position; for example, Pace is not key for a goalkeeper or Tackling is not key for a striker however helpful it may be.

This is the perfect time to learn who you are going to sell and buy, you may have your own ideas but this will help you shift 'Deadwood' who are just soaking up wage budget money and not doing anything which is what you do not want. So get rid of them!
Also you will now know the players you may need to bring in maybe you are short in one or two positions and need depth.

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Every time you start a new save you are asked into an interview. In this interview you are asked by your assistant manager to set up a team meeting. This is a great opportunity for you to speak to the staff and seek their opinion on players etc. Also you can set it up that there is a meeting on a set timeline for recurring meetings. This meeting allows for the staff to make recommendations such as formations to use, set piece takers and also players who may need sold and lastly they also tell you about players who would benefit from tutoring. You may sit their thinking that you do not want to listen to them but that is what they are there for, they are skilled in certain areas, more than you realise. So I would take time to take what they say into consideration as it will in the future help you!

Hopefully this helps you start to Build your team. This information may be basic but it is helpful and most likely effective so use it and take what I have mentioned into consideration as it may be able to help your club in many different ways.

Points to take away:
  • get an idea of each and everyone of your players' skill level and what they can be worth to your team
  • learn who you are going to sell and buy
  • attend the first team meeting

Semi Pro Clubs

This may be a more unusual topic for most who like to go the big clubs but there are many players who enjoy the thrill of taking teams from the bottom tier of that country's football system and take them to the top. However big a challenge this is, it is made harder by the fact that players of these clubs may be on part time contracts as your club also may also be semi professional. Now this is not the end of the world, it's just not great.

You want to get to the next level (Turning pro) as fast as possible to really solidify your players positions and futures at the club. Turning pro will mean you will be able to offer full time contracts to them which clears any uncertainty that surrounded them with just the part time contracts. Always get your key players under contract first. No point in offering contracts to needless players to then get to your star striker and realize you can afford to offer him a contract!

Guide to Lower League Management (LLM)
The definitive guide to managing in the lower leagues. What team to choose? How to handle finances? What players to look for? This (plus a lot more) is what you'll learn in this guide for LLaMas.

Turning pro is essential for growth. This is key to continuing success further up the leagues. Funds will always be tight at this time but it's worth investing into having players on full time contracts. Scottish League 2 is a prime example of clubs with part time players. Most of the time they have to get promoted to become pro which is what you may have to do in the beginning, but that is the harsh reality of managing these clubs.

Now although this section of the guide may be vague it gives you the general idea on what to do in these situations and also a few tips along the way!

Points to take away:
  • turn pro as fast as possible
  • get your key players under contract first
  • accept the fact that LLM can be a harsh challenge

Budget and Finances

The budget and general finance of your club is essential to true success. Having a big transfer budget may be great, but remember what you do with that budget will cause a most likely negative effect on the clubs general financial state unless you are selling players too. But before all this you need to get to get the general idea on the clubs financial state before anything. This will let you determine how much money is coming in and going out, etc. This allows you know your true budget for the 1st window.

In terms of your budget, if it's low and you need to make improvements, sell the Deadwood I spoke about earlier to bring in funds to allow for the desired transfers to go through. Do not strain the budget! What I mean by this is that you can alter the wage budget and transfer budget to accommodate transfers which sometimes can put the club in the red on wage allocation and because you have not got funds to alter this you may find your self stuck! The board are unlikely to grant a new manager more transfer funds without him proving himself to them, so you can rule that option out of the equation!

How to improve your club's finances on Football Manager
Which factors affect club finances? How to keep your balance tight and increase your earnings without cheating? What steps to take? This is what you’ll learn in this guide. Freshly written for FM 2014.

These two paragraph may be short but they contain helpful tips that you should use to ensure that you can have a fun but secure time during the transfer window signing all the players you think will lead your club to glory!

Points to take away:
  • get the general idea on the clubs financial state before anything
  • sell the deadwood
  • do not strain the budget

Revising staff

This, however insignificant it may seem, could be one of the major factors of your club's season. Staff are a vital part of any club's set up and for a club to be successful you need to have good staff. New managers will either want to bring in their own backroom staff who may be better or keep the staff the already have who could be just as good, maybe worse or maybe even better. It's all personal preference.

When you join a new club, you are met by the old assistant manager. This man my be the first out the door as every new manager wants his own assistant. The assistant helps you pick teams, creates opposition instructions if you told him to and much more. He is probably the most interactive and helpful person at your club. So what is the point in having a bad assistant manager, well there is not a point you should really think about getting rid of him for someone new. The same idea applies for each and everyone of your staff and you should follow this module for all positions.

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If you are a lazy "FM'er" you can set your chairman or other main figures in the club to hire new staff, but you best be ware as they will not be always hiring the best or even needed staff members so watch out for this.

Points to take away:
  • assistant manager is the most interactive and helpful person at your club
  • bring new and better staff with every given chance
  • better not leave the hiring of staff to someone else

Establish Philosophy

Establishing Philosophies can be very important or not very important. Most of the time you are set philosophies by the board at the start of every save. These are the guidelines I guess that they want you to follow, it's the way they want you to control their club in a sense.

The philosophies that are set by the board are what you want to aim to perform, for example develop players using the clubs youth system or Sign high profile players. Following these will help your relationship with the board grow, which is obviously a good thing and it will also help solidify your position at the club. To follow these philosophies is very clear, you do what they tell you and you will be OK!

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However some clubs will not offer you Philosophies to follow and at this point it is up to you to decide whether you want to be judged or not. If you already have a game plan that involves a philosophy you may want to ask to be judged on it as if you perform it to a high level, your relationship with the board will be even better than it would be without.

You can obviously go without any philosophies which is not a bad thing and it lets you have a little more control over signings and which players you develop and use in your squad. This may seem like the best option but in reality it's just personal preference, there are advantages and disadvantages with going with and without a philosophy.

Points to take away:
  • when the board sets a philosophy, this is what you want to aim to perform
  • make sure to maintain a good relationship with the board
  • going without a philosophy may be the best option (if you have one)

Searching and scouting

Scouting in football manager is big business. It can help you find the bargains of a lifetime. To do this you can use the highly in depth searching method on football manager to find players and assign players to scout the players further.

You can look for things like contract expiry dates, positions and certain attribute levels, which can be used to find hidden gems who you can get for dirt cheap.
Once you find prospects you see may suit your clubs play style you can assign scouts to scout them which can give you a great idea about their ability and potential.

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Players who have been scouted have a report based on them which gives you the potential value of a transfer, potential wage, etc. It also gives you a helpful piece of information on their personality which is key for building a team, as you do not want a player who has a temper mental personality or a controversial personality as they may be more hassle than their worth. But players with personalities like professionalism are great to have as you know they are reliable and won't make a scene when certain things may happen. For example, if he is not getting playing time he will jot leak his discontent to the media, which will leave you in poor light in the public eye.

Knowing players before you buy is key and will possibly save you a lot of time trying to sell the player after you discover that he is a bad Omen for your club.

Points to take away:
  • use the highly in depth searching method on football manager to find players
  • assign scouts on them to get an idea about their ability and potential
  • player personality is key, so avoid players who will cause trouble

Signing New Players

Obviously every manager wants to make their own mark on a club and wants to bring in their players which will lead the club to glory. In order for some players to be purchased some negotiations have to take place because no one wants to pay full price for a player when they could possibly get them for a few million cheaper.

Never go for the first negotiation unless it is extremely reasonable. Most clubs will ask ridiculous prices first time so try negotiating a few times, if this fails to work you could try and unsettle the player by publicly announcing your interest. That will often make him want to join your club and sometimes causes the player him to reject new contracts from his current and possibly cause the player to get transfer listed.

Football Manager 2014 Wonderkids
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Once a player agrees to join you will have to offer him a contract, things can get messy here. Big name players will often want huge contracts with big bonuses and extravagant clauses which is unacceptable in some cases, as there are only a few players in the world of football that are really worth all of these things. Do not over pay just because you want the big names at your club, it could cause a downfall in many ways inside your club. Always avoid the big clauses for example, yearly wage rises, they can really burn your budgets as a player earning 100,000 p/w with a 20% yearly wage rise could be adding over 3 years more than 60,000 p/w to the wage bill just for one player! To me that is ridiculous. Be smart and really think about if it's worth it.

So building a team can be very risky business when buying players for the team but if you are careful and put time and thought into it you can eventually come out the other end in a much better position, with more money and more than one player!

Points to take away:
  • never go for the first negotiation unless it is extremely reasonable
  • do not over pay just because you want the big names at your club
  • always avoid the big contract clauses because they can burn your budgets


Loans can make or break a season, usually loans are used by lower league clubs taking players from the bigger clubs who cannot get 1st team football. This allows young players to get first team football and the chance to show their ability to their parent club.

Loans can be used effectively for hidden talents who you can take on loan with a future fee and help them progress, which will mean at the end of the season you can buy them for a fraction of the value which is good business and also is a great way for your club to get players they normally would not be able purchase due to price restraints.

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Not only do loans open up great chances for a bargain but also the chance to get vital players in for your club who may make or break your season as a manager at that team. Because smaller clubs struggle to attract people who they can sign, they can get talented youngsters who will dominate the league with their superior ability than most others at that level which could possibly lead your club to promotion or even help you avoid relegation.

Loans can also be useful for big clubs. Loans can let you get depth for your club in certain positions without major fees having to be paid, also there is a good opportunity here for you to get in some big name players who are unhappy at their club which gives you the chance to get them to your club for a tiny fee compared to their true value.

Points to take away:
  • get players who normally you couldn't purchase due to price restraints
  • getting talented youngsters is vital for smaller clubs
  • get depth in certain positions without breaking the bank

Training and interaction

Training is a very important part of any club. Without it your team cannot progress and turn into the wonderkids they are tipped to be. To train your players you have different options available to you, for you to know which area your player needs to improve upon. These are staff recommendations and also your assistant manager will help you if you need it. As well as obviously your own opinion.

Staff recommendations are handy as it means you don't need to personally look over every single player and also they will automatically change the training schedule for the player too so it's a win win. These reports that they can give you will change too so the training pattern can change to the players training needs.

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Your assistant manager can give you reports on players progression, they will do a thing where they can tell you who they see has progressed the most and who has progressed the least. For the players who are not improving I advise you possibly change their training target and maybe speak to them personally.

That leads me to the Interactions with the players. This is a great way to motivate players; discipline them and urge them for many different reasons, you can for example praise them for their recent performances, give them warnings for their conduct or urge them to sign new contracts. Interacting with players can raise their morale which is good for the team as they will perform better when they are happy, so I highly recommend talking to players on a regular basis which will keep you hopefully in their good books and will bring the team together and increase your chances of winning games.

Points to take away:
  • staff recommendations are handy as will automatically adjust training schedule for players
  • speak to the players who are not improving and change their training target
  • interact with your players on a regular basis to raise their morale

Youth development

Youth development is another key method that can be used to build the greatest of teams. This may also be a philosophy that you have been set to live up to and so may be an area you a looking into for advice.

Developing the youth teams can be very effective at bringing through the academy world stars of the future. It can make your club a tonne of money and also help you win titles. To make sure you develop your youth is hiring the best staff for your youth sector which will let you have the best coaching for development and scouting so you can find the best players to put into your development system.

Youth are the future
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After you are happy with players you have you can start to find ways to get them involved in football matches, which you need to happen for the players to be happy and for them to improve. You can use your youth teams, but if they are weak in ability it may not be the best for your future stars. I advise loaning them out to other lower leagued teams to ensure there will be a competitive fight for places and they will be gaining first team football

Points to take away:
  • hire the best staff for your youth sector
  • find ways to get them involved in football matches of the first team
  • loan them out to smaller teams to gain first team football

Fine tuning

To maintain the team you have built is simple. Just look over everything on a regular basis, so maybe once every week or two weeks this leaves enough time for things to change and is not too frequent that you would be wasting your time. Talk to the players and look over their attributes and their thoughts and happiness levels. Monitor the transfer centre, you could find excellent players and then sign them on pre contracts, the same goes for big players. Get an idea over the months about which players are not cutting it and need to be sold.

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Figure out which areas you want to improve the club as a whole, may that be the clubs facilities or personnel. This information will become clear for you if your are careful and think things through you will lead your club to success. Once you find the effective methods of running the club it will become second nature to you and will and turn into a pretty much automated system.

Points to take away:
  • talk to your players and check on their attributes, thoughts and happiness levels
  • monitor the transfer centre and get an idea who needs to be sold
  • figure out which areas you want to improve the club as a whole

Landmark Milestones

9 May 2014
Our guide has been featured on the official Facebook page, Twitter account and Google+ page of Sports Interactive!

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About MattZTH

I found this site and it opened my eyes to a whole new world that added significantly to the game that is Football manager. I appreciate each and everyone who has helped make this site the place it is for us users!

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