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Poll: Lower League Diaries - FC United

Started on 21 October 2012 by Akash
Latest Reply on 30 November 2012 by Blue
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When will I be sacked? (108 votes)
Most stories in FM12, mine included, were about the user in the game, taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson or Brendan Rogers to carry on where they left off, but this story will be about the technical side of Football Manager. I'm not saying I'm close to being good at LLM, but I believe I know enough to post

Lower League Managment (LLM, for short) has always been a touchy subject - some people love it, others hate it, but everyone agrees that if you can conquer LLM, you are better than most in the FM world.

My save

I holidayed through the first season (12/13) and waited for teams to be promoted from the Northern Premier League Premier Division. FC United were one of the stronger teams in the division and, as FM12, more often than not, would be promoted after the first season. If you don't know the significance of FC United, this should help you out:
"FC United of Manchester was formed in 2005 by Manchester United supporters opposed to American businessman Malcolm Glazer's controversial takeover of the club. The supporters own the club and vote on how the club is run".

I was silly enough to put my real nationality in-game. I could've chosen France or Spain, along with England as my second nationality, to increase the scouting knowledge in the country, but I completely forgot about it.

I've selected almost all the nations, and made the important ones playable. The Brazilian and Dutch leagues have been made playable on purpose because the 15-16 year old wonderkids that cost nothing and are willing to come to the BSN/BSS come from these two countries. I haven't seen the 'Wonderkids list' for FM2013 yet, but I'll be sure to use it once I have a little bit of money.

Speaking of money, FC United had an Okay financial status, and as a result, had a good £2,000 in wages to spend, which I increased to nearly £3,000 by altering my transfer budget - I won't be spending any money on transfers, but I'll be needing the wages to strengthen my squad. But before I could even look at my squad, I was happily told by my Director of Football that my team had no staff whatsoever.
Good luck akash, just don't go beating City ;)
Akash, I know you really love managing Man United, but I'm very glad that you are trying LLM :)
Signing my Assistant Manager

FM13 has this new system where we speak to our Director about season expectations and club history, followed by a brief meeting with the assistant manager where we delegate our duties. It is basically the first fifteen minutes of the save you spend seeing team reports, changing the Team Policy and choosing season expectations. When my Assistant Manager never showed up, I realized something was wrong. Went into my staff page, and saw nothing - except the name of my Director, James Shelton.

First order of business - getting an assistant manager. I go into the staff search and have to decide what attributes I want to pick as a filter. My choice - Tactical knowledge, Judging Player Ability, Motivating, Man Management and Working with Youngsters, in no real order.

Tactical Knowledge - This one helps you with the opposition instructions.

Judging Player Ability - We all love out team reports in the start of the game, and "Assistant Reports" in the squad list, don't we? Pretty self-explanatory. He will judge the abilities of your players.

Motivating and Man-Management - This is what decides how accurate your assistant manager's team talks suggestions are.

Working With Youngsters - Because a BSN cannot afford a Under-18 coach, the assistant manager takes over the responsibility, and this attribute helps you decide whether or not, your assistant manager is good enough to handle it.

Because I didn't have an Assistant Manager, I couldn't tick out the unrealistic transfers. As a result, Steve Bould and Mike Phelan were on the list when I filtered the attributes to 10 and above. Interesting fact, the compensation to get Mike Phelan to our club would be 10 times our club value.

As a result, I had to choose 'between 8 and 12', knowing very well that all the managers beyond that would not be interested in joining us. I soon realized that even managers that averaged 8 in every department were not keen on joining us, so finally, after bringing down the values filter further, I found my assistant manager. He isn't the best assistant in the world, but he is all that I could afford.


Basically, the purpose of buying him was so I could eliminate the unrealistic transfers when I would be signing my players. Once I find a better assistant manager, he'll be thrown out without any hesitation.
Good luck, Akash. This will be really interesting, I'm definitely following.
Finally, it's arrived. Can't wait. Good luck.

It would be interesting to see you beat Man United with FC United ;)
About the Club
The only thing worth noting here is that the stadium is owned by Bury, and we will probably have to buy a stadium 4-5 years in the future, but I can't worry about that right now.

Media Prediction for FC United is 17th, but I would obviously like to better that, but I won't be too sad if I can't. I'm planning to sign most of my players on a two year deal, so we can push for promotion in the second year. The most important thing I would suggest here would be to set yourself a target every two months. At the end of October, I want my team to be in this position. Since most of your transfers will be free, you can keep signing players whenever you want, without the worry of transfer deadlines. After every two months, if you are not in the position you thought you would be, something needs to be changed. One or more of your players are underperforming, and they need to be replaced.

The board's expectations for the club aren't too spectacular either. I'm hoping to do much, much better than the First Round of the FA Trophy, but there comes a time when you have to decide what is more important. A cup run or players' fitness.

Tactics


It is easy to be too adventurous as a LLManager when it comes to tactics, or trying to use the same tactics as you do for a Premier League side, but not having the quality to back up the tactic. It is one thing to have Kaka as your advanced playmaker and quite another to have Pa Modou-Jobe in that position. If you do want to go for tactics much more suited to the big leagues, my suggestion to you would be to go for players that have high creativity, high flair and have one or two very good important attributes. For example, if you were to look for a Deep Lying Playmaker, make sure his passing is very high for the league - 14/15 in the BSN. Why high flair and creativity? They are more likely to produce moments of brilliance and take advantage of a strictly average keeper.

I should've gone, and had initially put up a flat 4-4-2 formation, with pretty simple player roles, but when I started signing quality players (we'll talk about that later), I realized that I need to take advantage of the quality I had at my disposal.

Those who are playing the beta, know how bad the defensive system in the game is, and my first tactic is purely about suring up my defence.
A default back four helped out by a defensive midfielder (could've been an anchor-man, but didn't find any suitable players in that role), and also a ball winning midfielder. The matches the opposition will be playing an attack-heavy game, I will use this tactic. The use of inside forwards will depend on whether the other team plays wing-backs. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a very good DM, and this tactic will be my second-choice until I do.

Although the tactic looks very attacking minded, it is not. The the two central midfielders are set to 'defend' so they don't go too far ahead while attacking, again thanks to the defensive mistakes that are evident in FM13. I'm completely undecided on whether to play my second striker as a Target Man or Deep Lying Forward. The latter will fill the hole in between the two wingers, but I need a Target Man, so I can play a more direct game. As of right now, this is my first-choice tactic and the one that I will use in most competitive matches.

No point talking about this tactic, because I will almost certainly never use it. This is just to build up familiarity with the tactics faster. The 4-2-3-1 is one of the most attacking tactics out there, and my FC United side doesn't have the quality to play with it.
This is crazy!!!! Akash at it again!! Always giving more reasons to hire him as my speech writer when I become the President of my country. Too bad I wont be around to follow it religiously, but will definitely do it when the opportunity presents itself. Good luck. And I voted for u to be sacked by 2013/2014! :p Good luck mate! may you conquer europe!!!!!!!
The Rest of the Staff

With the Assistant Manager and the tactics out of the way, it is time to deal with the other staff. According to my board, I'm allowed to have two coaches, a physio, a 'Head of Youth Development' (Youth Coach, I guess) and 'Director of Football'. I'm sure most of you are aware about the DDM rule while looking at potential coaches.

The three important attributes that define a coach are Discipline, Determination and Motivation. I'm still unsure about how training works in this edition of the game, but various attributes of the coaches determine the level (stars) for your coaching. In the BSN, it'll be difficult to get coaches that have a massive effect on coaching and have any meaningful stars added in the training column, but when I consider asking my board to improve my training facilites, I'l be sure to improve my coaches to atleast 14-15 in their respective category.

Coach
This coach, Des Hamilton, was actually a player for Barnet. I was surprised to see him on the staff list, but when I saw his stats, I was amazed. I didn't want him as a player, so after 3-4 times suggesting terms of him dropping his player status, he finally agreed. He is only available for a meagre wage of £150 per week because he is still 'Unproven'. Signed him on a two year deal knowing very well that a biggish side will snap him up in six months time, giving me a nice compensation to add to my kitty. Even if that doesn't happen, we have two years of his service and I can't complain.

Coach
Obviously not as good as Hamilton, but at 32 years of age, I can see Lenagan improving into a very good coach for this league. For those that didn't know, coaches' stats also increase as they learn more about the coaching world. Even when players like Paul Scholes retire, they aren't too good at coaching, but eventually, he becomes a very good coach and can get into any Premier League side.

Chief Scout
Unlike the top leagues, you don't really need a scout with a good Judging Player Potential, because, as you move up the leagues, the potential will keep dropping and dropping and they won't be good enough to play in your league anymore. But most scouts weren't ready to come down to the BSN, so I had to choose a scout with the JPA of 8 to be my Chief Scout. My other scout is better than him, but I chose Christie to lead the scouting team because he already has knowledge of England and Ireland (which is the region available for scouting). He also adds Scotland to our scouting knowledge, which is always a good thing.

Scout
I signed Claus, not only because he was a lot better than Archie, but also because he adds Scandinavia to our scouting knowledge. When signing a scout, in the lower leagues, from a country/region different from the location of the team, you should always keep an eye on the 'Adaptability' of the scout. If the scout cannot adjust or adapt to the country, his scouting reports will be affected.

Physio
A staff member with the highest attribute of 'Physiotheraphy' was signed as the Physio for a club. The value of 13 is pretty high in this league, but I don't expect him to do much, without a fitness coach, who I am not allowed to have, according to my board.

Director of Football
I will admit, I have no idea what stats are important for the Director of Football. I just treated him like a normal coach, and chose the oldest man I could find.
Goof luck with it :)

Love to play a LLM myself, I see you doing a pentagon in the future :P
I hear double Olympic medal winner Mo Farah is interested in becoming a fitness coach, maybe you can offer him his first job? :P
2012-10-21 11:18#68059 manchesterblue97 : Good luck akash, just don't go beating City ;)

Thanks, blue. Of course, as you must've noticed later on in my story, Manchester City are our 'fierce' rivals. When I meet them in the Premier League, I will go above and beyond to defeat them.

2012-10-21 11:57#68067 or.dabool : Akash, I know you really love managing Man United, but I'm very glad that you are trying LLM :)
Thanks for the comment, Or. To be honest, Or, I can't stop myself from going for Manchester United - there's just something that pulls me towards them. Even now, I could've chosen any team from the BSN/BSS, but I go for FC United of Manchester.

2012-10-21 12:19#68071 Moppy666 : Good luck, Akash. This will be really interesting, I'm definitely following.
Thanks, Moppy. Of course you will follow. You don't have a choice - I will force you to follow this story till the very end.

2012-10-21 14:29#68081 Glenn T : Finally, it's arrived. Can't wait. Good luck.

It would be interesting to see you beat Man United with FC United ;)
If you had told me you were waiting for me to start a story, I would've done it yesterday or day before, but I'm glad I chose this challenge. I can't wait for promotion :) It'll be more interesting to see FC United beat Liverpool. Thanks for the comment, Glenny.

2012-10-21 16:19#68096 sevannime : This is crazy!!!! Akash at it again!! Always giving more reasons to hire him as my speech writer when I become the President of my country. Too bad I wont be around to follow it religiously, but will definitely do it when the opportunity presents itself. Good luck. And I voted for u to be sacked by 2013/2014! :p Good luck mate! may you conquer europe!!!!!!!
I'm sad about you leaving, Sevannime, but school is important. Don't you worry, because when you come back in December, I'll still be doing this story but hopefully a little higher up in the English league system.

2012-10-21 17:01#68102 mdlp1991 : Goof luck with it :)

Love to play a LLM myself, I see you doing a pentagon in the future :P
Pentagon is a distant dream now - as of right now, my FM life is dedicated to FC United only. I appreciate the comment, Michael.

2012-10-21 17:04#68104 Arvind K : I hear double Olympic medal winner Mo Farah is interested in becoming a fitness coach, maybe you can offer him his first job? :P
That would be fine if I were allowed to have coaches, Arvind. Thank you :)

Money - In


Anyone who has attempted LLM before will tell you - you make your money by participating in friendlies. What I did first was cancel all four friendlies already scheduled, and didn't even bother looking who they were against. After the spots became available, I replaced those friendlies with:
- Stafford - Northern Premier League Premier Division - Received £4,000.
- Marine - Northern Premier League Premier Division - Received £3,500.
- Gateshead - nPower League 2 - Received £6,000.
- Rangers - Scottish Second Division - Received £50,000.
- Aston Villa - Barclays Premier League - Received £50,000.

Why are these friendlies important?

Friendlies Result


A pretty good pre-season, if you ask me. Used all three formations sometime or the other, and the players seem to be comfortable passing the ball around. My defense seemed a lot better than most of the teams I faced, and made no critical mistakes. When in the lower leagues, it is always advisable to play your own friendlies. Not because it has any impact on your players' morales, but because you can see for yourself what is working and what is not. If your tactic says to pass down the flanks, but your wingers can't handle them, you will only figure it out if you see them play in the friendlies. I would go as far as saying see the "full match" at a decent speed, so you know exactly what your players are doing and how ready they are.
Even though Rangers and Villa were two of the more important friendlies, I played my reserve side against them both knowing very well that I could ill-afford any injures.

Money - Out


It was obvious that the team needed strengthening - from back to front.
As soon as the coaches, the tactics and the training was taken care of, I started off looking into improving my squad.
Again, the "unrealistic transfers" tick is really important here. Better have an assistant manager before you even consider going for players.

Signing #1
Wage: £0
Appearance Fee: £40
Contract Type: Non-Contract.

Signing #2
Wage: £140
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Part-Time

Signing #3
Wage: £140
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Part-Time

Signing #4
Wage: £300
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Part-Time

Signing #5
Wage: £160
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Part-Time

Signing #6
Wage: £5
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Youth Contract

Signing #7
Wage: £160
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Part-Time

Signing #8
Wage: £275
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Part-Time

Signing #9
Wage: £350
Appearance Fee: £0
Contract Type: Part-Time

The most interesting signings were:

Niall Rhodes - who I wouldn't have got into the team if he was getting more than his present £5 per week wage, but apparently, the fans were very happy.

Leon McKenzie - I've signed a player who has played for Crystal Palace and Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League. I would've signed him regardless of his history, but this gave me extra incentive.

Hegel Noubissie - A Cameroonian, giving my side a little more global reach. Isn't the most popular African out there, but it is refreshing to see a different flag every now and then - in a league full of English, Scottish and Irish players.

Patrick McNair - When I approached him to sign, he said, "I'm not interested, so offer me something big". Hence, I offered McNair the maximum wage I could, and he accepted immediately. In hindsight, I probably should've offered him something a little lower, but his signing is perfect. A Manchester United player released from his contract and a month later, he is at FC United. You can't write it any better than that.
Woot! akash has written another story! All the best mate

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