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Guide for Smaller Teams.

By Updated on May 14, 2008   18571 views   9 comments
Playing with smaller teams is maybe the toughest thing to do in FM. By smaller teams I mean really bad teams and are 1-2 divisions under the 'premier division'. It's probably the most fun with FM, to make a 'shit' team into a 'great team'. I'm always playing with lower league teams, just because of the big challenge.
I think i can give many of you a few good tips on how to get yourself going. I will most probably also update it later and add some basic good tactics for smaller teams.

Choosing a team:

Now if you are to play a FM game seriously, then you have to really know a bit about the country league your playing in. And if possible know a bit about the team. But that's just optional because that will only help you to get started more easier.

But choosing a lower league team has to be good judgement. If you don't know of which team you want to play with. Then instead of just choosing a random team. Then think for yourselves how you want to play the game.
What do you want to do with this team?
How long are you going to play this game that you are about to start?

If you are going to stay with a team for a longer period of time. Then what i would give you as a tip is that to look at the teams information.
Things that will help you long term:
- Finances
- Good Stadium
- Expectation
- Good Training and youth facilities

These things are quite so important. With finances of course it will help you to get more players and better.
Having a Good stadium helps you extend it later on in the game. This will help your finances of course.
Expectations are quite so important. Some teams might have slightly unrealistic aims. You have to find a team with a realistic aim which you can handle without putting much efforts.
Having good training and youth facilities will help you overall and in the future. The youth setup will generate you some good youngsters which you can in a few years sell for some money. Or making some home born legends. Having good training facilities helps your team overall.

Getting Started:

Now that you have chosen your team. You get started, play the game and try your best. thats it. nah just messing around.

Firstly have a good look at your team. by a good look i mean seriously look at your team properly. Sorting out your team, simply.
Look at what players are good enough. Look at what type of players you have. Look at which should be loaned out or transfer listed. Look at what you will be needing for this team.

When you have sorted out your team. I would recommend that you have open 'FM genie scout', Or 'FM Modifier'.
Using these programs you can check out your teams. The most important things to check out is most probably the CA=Current Ability and PA= Potential Ability. With Genie scout you can also get a 'player rating' which will include percentages. Example:
Stewart Downing CA: 173 PA: 179 Player Rating, Current: 75,7% Potential: 81,3%.

The ratings can be useful, as players with lower abilities can have higher player ratings. The player ratings are judged on the players stats and according to their position if they have good stats for that position the better their player rating is.

Anyway, im going off-topic here.
Now you will have most certainly sorted out your team.

Training and Coaches:

Now you will need a good training schedule. And also some good new coaches. Some good training schedules:

Add the schedules to: My Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2008\schedules

If there isn't a folder called 'schedules' then create one :)

Now sort your training out by putting players into their respective categories.

Now in the training section you will find 'coaches'. There you will see which coaches train which categories. And because your a small team you wont be able to have many coaches. A good thing to do in this situation is to sign some 'all-round' coaches.
All-round coaches are those who have good attributes on nearly everything. So in that way you can have them train in 2 categories each.
You will see that when a coach has been given a category it will have 'stars' besides. You can get a maximum of '7 stars', but at a lower level it should be ok with at least '5 stars'.


This is a important part for a 'small team'. When you start a game you will have some friendlies already arranged.

But, to boost your finances create some friendlies against 'bigger teams'. Have a realistic aim here, because teams like Man United might not see your team as a tough enough opponent for their pre season.
But having a bigger team helps you fill out your stadium and bring in a bit of money. In this way you will get a bit of money.

I usually leave out my friendlies for the assistant to control. But if you are new to this team and if you aren't that experienced with FM then play the last 3-4 friendlies yourself.
In these friendlies you can look at how your team plays, and what type of players you need and such.


Probably the biggest part of the game. Tactics.
Playing with a small team you will really need some good tactics to be able to win(mostly against better teams).

My best experience with tactics with a new team or a lower league team. Try to make a simple and basic overall tactic.
Don't try to make new formations and don't try new instructions at the start of the game. Start of by making a basic and simple tactic. The best formation for a lower league team is usually the 'Diamond Formation', it's called 4-1-2-1-2 or 4-4-2 diamond.

Team instructions and Personal Instructions:

Team instructions, should be a basic overall tactic for your team. The style you want your team to play. That's mostly up to you at this point.

Personal Instructions, from my personal experience are the most important part of the tactics.
Your players have to be given the best personal instructions.

Have a good look at the player, look at his strengths and weakness. And in the personal instructions change them so he uses more of his strengths and less of his weakness.

If you have a AML. He has good crossing, and a bit of a 'hard working' winger.
But he is average when it comes to being technical and dribbling.

So what he might get a instruction of 'Crossing: Often, Running with the ball: Mixed'

Thats how you can judge a player, and in that way you can give him instructions and such.

Another important part of tactics is the 'mentality and the creative freedom'.

Mentality: Everyone knows that you can have a 'Defensive, Normal and Attacking' Mentality to your players.

Defensive: Will be more defensive, wont be that attacking and will concentrate more on defending than attacking.
Normal: Will be equally balanced, mostly good for CM's. Will give as much in attacking and as much in defending.
Attacking: Will mostly be attacking, and wont do much of the defending.

Creative Freedom: As you know its either 'Little, Normal and Much'. Creative freedom means how much a player can use of his 'creativity'. If you give him 'much' then he will most probably try 'tricks' do new things, and such. And it will also give the player a more 'higher position' on the pitch.
Like C.Ronaldo, he is a Winger but because he is give a lot of 'creative freedom' then he usually stays higher up the pitch, and tries new things and such.

Little: Player doesn't go that much high on the pitch. usually stays casual. He will try to be cautious. make less mistakes, usually for a player that isn't creative. Follows more of the instructions given to him.
Normal: Does try new things, but has more tactical approach to the game.
Much: Usually stays higher up on the pitch, tries much of his creativity, bound to make more mistakes. Has less concentration on the tactical part.

In my opinion these are some important things to know while making a tactic for certain players in a lower league team.



Set Pieces:

Usually a big part of winning some games. Having some tactically made corners will help you a lot.
People at times don't care about putting a good corner taker and such.

But, playing with a lower league team this is important.

From Left corners have a right footed player take it.
From Right corners have a left footed player take it.

Same goes to Free kicks, this with left and right foot helps a lot.
Of course if you only have 1-2 players that are good at set pieces then it shouldn't make a huge difference.

At attacking corners, let 2 of your 'small players' stay back. make 1 or 2 players with good shots 'lurk outside the penalty area' and the rest in the penalty box, its upto you if they are all to be at the near post or such.

and in the 'Team instructions' you can choose 'where to aim the corners at'. and if you feel that you got a good strategy for corners then go for it.

Its all experimental and you can always try new things.

Some of my tactics(some of these are specific for some teams, but a few of those should give you the example of what type of 'basic tactic' that could be useful).
You can use these tactics, but in my opinion use them as 'examples' to learn from. and make your own tactics with a bit of your knowledge and experience, and of course according to your team.



Transfers is probably one of the biggest part of this football game. Its not often you go out in the summer and don't buy or sell players.

And now when you have started a game with a smaller team, the best thing to do is to not sell players.

Simply because you don't want to make your squad or players unhappy. Morale has a big affect on your team. Remember that, because morale can be the difference between winning the league or getting relegated.

By now you will most probably had a good knowledge of your team. After playing a few friendlies you know what type of player you will be needing, and which you might not be needing.

Getting players at this stage is really difficult. But there are some really good options.
By the magic of Genie Scout, you can search for 'Free' players. In this case you can find good players that might even be top flight quality. Most of the 'Free' players usually are old, but they are good to have in 1-2 seasons. If you do find a few free players, try to sign them.

Loan players, probably one of the most useful ways for smaller teams. Go to bigger teams and look for players that you could loan. But dont expect a Man United reserve player to come to a League Two team. Think of a difference between, 1-2 divisions. Of course you can also try to loan players from the slightly smaller teams in the top division.
But getting 2-3 loanies can be useful.
But remember, don't make a squad needing the loan players that much. Because there isnt always a good chance that you will sign the loan players. At times they might just return to their team and leave for another team. So be careful how you build a team around loanies.

Usually i will look at the weakest point of my team. If i have a weak defence, but the midfield and the attack looks good. Then i might spend all my money on 1-2 good defenders. And getting 1-2 loan players as back up to the overall squad.

Trust Your Team.

Important Facts On Team Building:

At this level you don't need to go and buy youngsters. Of course this is probably the best time to get youngsters. But with the bad finances you might not be able to. The best thing is to just let your board upgrade the youth facilities. That will give you better regens every year. And dont forget you might already have a few hidden stars in the youth team.

But building up a solid team can take time. But to be able to get things going try to build up a solid defence.
Defence is a key, you can score 4 goals, but you might also concede 4 goals.
So in my opinion, try to build up a good defence. Good goalie and good defenders. Usually the most important are the 2 centre backs and the Goalkeeper. The fullbacks are usually a bit flamboyant or mobile. And dont have to be that good as the 2 centre backs and the goalkeeper.
But of course you cant go 1 season just concentrating on your defence.
If you see half way through the season that your defence is doing good, but your attack isnt. Then you have the January transfer window to buy/loan players. And always save a room for 1 more player, because i think at a lower level you will always need to buy 1 player in the january transfer window.
Of course at this point you might also sell 1-2 players and get some money for new.
But simply start with a good defence, and build upwards from there, to midfield and to attack.

This is all for now, but i will be updating this when i have more time. You can always message me for help or more info or tips. and if there is anything you feel that i can add to this let me know in the comments.

more to follow...

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