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Mistakes to avoid to keep your job in FM14

A beginner’s guide to surviving the boot on Football Manager 2014.

By on Mar 22, 2014   46929 views   1 comments
Football Manager Guides - Mistakes to avoid to keep your job in FM14
We all know keeping your job in Football Manager can be the biggest challenge, but I think I have learned from the most dangerous mistakes. If you can avoid these 10 errors, success will come much easier.

You treat every game like an experiment.

You think you’re a ‘tinkerer’ like Jose Mourinho but you do not necessarily have the tactical know-how to pull it off. As soon as you sign a contract to be the manager of a club you have to take things seriously and possibly the most important thing to do is nail down your go-to tactic; your formation, mentality, fluidity and team instructions etc. @iTacticalGenius wrote on his blog that it is fundamental to maximize your squad’s tactic familiarity level before the competitive season starts. He suggests organising as many pre-season friendlies as possible and against weaker teams to boost morale so your players can hit the ground running when the real games begin.

You think you have already made it in the football management game.

You see yourself as the new Bob Paisley / Sir Matt Busby and it is only a matter of time before you emulate their success and legendary status. Complacency is your worst enemy in FM and if you turn up in a new job or new season thinking you are such a good coach your ‘genius’ formation will win you every game without any thought or major effort, you are sadly mistaken. As in real world football you and your squad must improve every season, every match, even every training session. If you start thinking pressing spacebar is all you need to do your results will suffer sooner rather than later.

You have lost the dressing room.

An unfortunate feature of FM14 is players’ proclivity to act like prima donnas. Whether they think they run the club and question your performance (when it should be you questioning theirs), or they react badly when a player is signed who can play in their position, some footballers are hard to handle and it’s tempting to put your foot down and exercise a zero tolerance policy to their acts of ‘Rooney’. Count to 10 though because although they might be selfish and have inflated opinions of themselves you need to get along with all of your players to achieve success.

Don’t panic! Don’t panic!

It is natural to fear the sack but since I stopped worrying about the prospect I have become a better manager. When you focus too much on the threat of losing your job you make lots of snap decisions which can either prove to be huge errors in judgement or disrupt the flow of the team – or both. Just because you have gone a goal down early in a match does not necessarily make it time to make three subs, change your mentality and formation. Just because your top striker is struggling for goals does not mean you should transfer list him or even drop him straight away. He will surely be back to goalscoring ways soon, don’t panic.

Applying for other jobs while managing another club.

Journalists earn their money on FM and if you apply for a managerial position elsewhere they will find out and so will your employers – it will not end well. This is one of the more obvious mistakes to avoid but it can be very tempting to go for those big jobs. If you cannot help yourself, save your game first so you can load it again if you do not get the job you applied for and upset your club. Purists might call this cheating, I am not one.

Set unrealistic board expectations just to get more funds.

You are consumed with ego and greed and tell the board you can win the league so you can get a few million extra for transfers. I always keep expectations to a minimum in order to prolong my life at a club. There is no point having lots of ambitions for the club if you are sacked after your first season because you did not reach the high bar you set for yourself and left your employers disappointed. It makes the game so much easier and more enjoyable if you set a realistic target and keep everyone happy. Do not be too unambitious in your pre-season team meeting though as some of your players might become demotivated.
You tell the board either they build a new stadium or you are out of there. Ultimatums. Never a good idea in any aspect of life or games. Even more stupid than applying for a job under your employer’s nose, telling them if they do not grant your wish you will leave will 99% of the time result in you being pushed before you can jump. I must admit I have not tried this one many times so maybe you have a better chance of getting away with it than I suggest. There are far better ways of getting what you want. Once you show your value to the club by achieving things on the pitch your employer/s will be much more likely to see things from your perspective.

You sign for a struggling club with no investment and languishing in a relegation spot after 10+ games.

Just do not bother, it is not worth it. It is a grand old game but no-one enjoys scrapping for survival only to realise it will be the same nightmare the next season. Manage a club in a lower league who have something going for them and a chance of progression. With the often ridiculously high expectations of board members you will be expected to extract blood from a stone and no achievement you make will be good enough. Everyone loves an overachiever but you are going against big odds and the possible failure could tarnish your love for the game. Since I have aimed for jobs at clubs with some money in the bank, good facilities and not struggling on the pitch, I have enjoyed the game a lot more and my in-game reputation is improving every year.

“But he’s Brazilian and has a fancy hair-do.”

Do not buy players for the sake of it or because they look cool. Panic-buying is never a good idea especially when you need to keep the finances healthy to impress your club’s owners. Signing too many players at once can have a disruptive effect on your squad, players will fear for their place on the pitch and even their future at the club. I like to have the smallest squad possible so my players can get in to a rhythm and it encourages high performance. There will likely be a better team spirit in a small group too and you know each player that bit better, you know who you can trust on big occasions, who is hot head and who needs a telling off now and again to play his best. Moreover, you can get so many good players for free at the end of their contracts there is really no need to spend the big bucks, it is just frivolous and shows a lack of self-discipline.

You overachieve.

A football myth or truth? You might enjoy your best managerial season ever and get an average side promoted or win a top league but what if you cannot replicate that magic, that brilliance the following year? It is counter-intuitive to reign in your motivational and tactical genius but maybe you would be better off staying in your current league for another season and developing your squad to a point where it is ready to stay in the league above. It might sound ridiculous to suggest you should consider avoiding ‘overachievement’ but you might wish you did when you get sacked a year later by a board spoiled by your previous miracles.

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About FMScrapbook

FM blogger and Non-League football reporter. Author of fmscrapbook. @fmscrapbook on Twitter.

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Discussion: Mistakes to avoid to keep your job in FM14

1 comments have been posted so far.

  • cena's avatar
    Very true ,set expectations high just for money and don't achieve them and you will get sacked ,asking the board for too much too early will result in the same .

    You can add(probably falls under ''Set unrealistic board expectations just to get more funds.)'', :Don't sell any player just to get transfer funds ,every player has a role to play at some point in the season .

    Build relationships with your players from the start even the under 18s .
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