What team are you going to be on Football Manager 2013?
I’ll start unemployed (and unemployable), albeit with potentially a former international experience in the first instance and end up as a Sunday Leaguer.
Do you usually start with the team you support in real life?
Not really, as I support odd teams. I’ve follow Wycombe on and off since they beat Chelsea (back when they were they team to beat). But I believe they are not low enough in the pyramid to make that worthwhile. Other than that, I support the Phoenix in the A-League and that holds little attraction as there is no where to go in terms of promotion, and attracting talent is extremely difficult.
Are you a fan of lower league management?
Hell yes. I am also a believer in playing in what may be called the “unfashionable” leagues. I can talk the hind legs off a donkey, and I can spin a decent yarn, so I don’t have an issue with making the odd little observations or tackling a league which other members of the FM Scout community may not have been previously familiar. I seek to entertain, inform and inspire others, while also having a great deal of fun myself.
The only aspect which makes me wary of LLM (in England at least) is an expense called “non football costs”. Having taken Maidenhead from BSS to EPL in FM’11, I was then promptly buried under the sheer weight of these costs, no matter how hard I tried to keep a lid on it, and it did kill the enjoyment factor for me, as I have always prided myself on applying a financial prudent approach, and “If in doubt, pull out” approach to contract negotiations.
LLM does teach you, or at least should teach you, to be prudent with your cash and look for value in your players. While I do get emotionally attached to the team, LLM has taught me to be cutthroat with my squad and either sell the deadwood at fire sale prices, be flexible enough not to turn down fair offers on players and not to be afraid to transfer list a player if their wage demands spiral out of control. There is invariably a solution to your “problem” position(s) which does not include dipping into the loan market; you just need to be bold enough to implement it.
LLM is another great reminder that your squad doesn’t need to contain any “star” players, but to place value on team work, determination and work-rate so that they may gel cohesively as a unit and depending where you are playing, the likelihood of attracting any foreign players is slim to none, and then the chance of a successful WP application (if necessary) is the proverbial five eighths of not a hell of a lot.
What factors affect your team choice?
I like teams where I can immediately make changes which yield results, whether that is a change in tactics, captain, or recruiting better staff or players. Where you have a strong backroom and team, it is a lot more difficult to make changes which immediately benefit the team. My methodology rightly or wrongly is to attempt a total revamp of the squad within two/three years, replace anyone over the age of 30 with younger, cheaper players and making a call on whether to retain the top five wage earners.
My other key considerations:
1) Beg, borrow or steal the best scouts you can possibly get, but don’t go bonkers paying comp.
2) A decent physio is worth his/her weight in gold
3) Trade your Granny and/or your first born for a decent keeper. Keepers are strangely cheaper than a goal scoring striker, and if you can keep the opposition from your net, it builds pressure, and you are more likely to nick one through. Draws won’t necessarily win titles, but strong showings build reputations and the ability to sign better players.
Rumours have it that building a strong defensive line may be the most difficult aspect of LLM in FM13, with defenders and goalies being of such quality that I may be better served putting my Granny and my first born in the team.