Football is just like the rest of the world. It is all about money. Crazy amounts of money, mostly, when football is involved. In the real world, you should plan your money wisely. I advise doing the same in FM.

In this article, I will talk about my planning. Feel free to use it as you see fit.

Two-Year Cycle

I tend to plan my money around a two-year cycle. It isn’t a problem if I lose money in the first season, as long as I correct that in the second season. This way I make sure that any monetary problems don’t grow over my head. Obviously, I might not be around in the second season to correct my earlier loss, but at that point, it is no longer my problem.

To make my plan and keep to it, I use a few little tricks I picked up over the years.

Salary Cap

The first is a salary cap. I set a limit on the amount of money I pay to my players (and staff). I do that based on their role in my squad. A talented youngster will make less than the midfielder that is indispensable to my team.

In the game, there are some limits to the wages you can pay, set by the board. My advice would be to look at those and take it from there. At some clubs, you can get away with going with the limits that are set for you. At most clubs, especially the smaller ones, you will have to fine tune those to your liking, mostly a bit lower than what the board sees as fitting.

This doesn’t work without keeping a keen eye on the squad roles that are present in your team. Many players (I’ve done that more times than I can count), set and forget. I have made a note that I taped to my monitor to check twice every season. On the first of January and the first of July, I look at the results of the last 6 months. Based on form, goals, assists, basically about the value of the player for that period, I switch some players to a different role. Only one tier up or down, mostly, I want to change things, not ignite a revolt in the dressing room.

Rangers_ Finances Wages

Transfers & Transfer Cap

In my last article, I went into what I look at in transfers and transfer clauses to make sure I don’t go bankrupt. Transfers are a big part of my financial planning.

Without resorting to selling one or two players every year, most smaller clubs don’t make ends meet.

The easiest way is to sell your best player every year. The smartest way is to plan ahead for your transfers. During the season it becomes clear which player will most likely leave at the end of the season. I’m not talking about the terrible defender you will have to let go for free just to make sure you never again need to watch him giving away goals like Christmas presents, though you have to plan for that too.

I’m talking about looking at your squad, identifying the most likely candidates for a transfer, be it based on performance, the fact that they don’t fit in your squad or just because you dislike them.

You need to plan ahead here, so you have a replacement lined up when you actually seal the deal. This makes sure you don’t overpay for a mediocre player during the crazy part of transfer season, just to fill up a key position.

All this is not about money, except that it actually is. While planning what players to sell and buy, keep your eye on an imaginary cap you set for every position. What position in your squad, within your style of play, is key. Splurge there and be (a bit) frugal at other places. Because throwing caution to the wind and spending huge amounts on disappointing players is a shortcut to failure.

Rangers_ Transfer Centre

Check regularly

Money has the tendency to slip away. Money in football doubly so. Keep your eye on your finances screen once every in-game month or so. Look at the projections, look at what you have spent in the past month. Just look out for irregularities and little money sinks that you can’t explain. In my last save I kept losing around 5-6k a month on wages that I could not explain. Turns out there was a player in my U19 with a huge wage, loaned out to a small club for free. I somehow missed that and let the situation go on for 4 months before I caught up. In the next transfer window, I sold him, making up for the money bleed, but just barely. No big deal for Man City or Barcelona, big deal in the german third tier.

Rangers_ Finances Projection

These are the three most used tricks I employ to watch my finances. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive guide. If you have tips that should feature here in a future article, please let me know.


Luigy · April 13, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I figured out way to get bang for your buck for transfers. Each league has its own pros and cons.

EPL- basically after brexit hits and the awesome TV deal try and buy the youth players two years ahead of the aging player or end of contract player. Bad part is the work-permit needed so getting wonder-kids from other nations is very hard to get. stay with English youngsters.

La Liga: Check the Rules of the league and you can see that which nations are treated as EU meaning that they are not treated as non foreign players. Biggest upside to this league is the two year nationality for foreign players to be accepted as nation homegrown. So take advantage of Africa, US, Mexico, South America. 3 foreign players are accepted for registration. Plan ahead for buying maybe a 18 yo overseas player a year.

Ligue 1: African nations will be your gold mine here as they are treated as EU and need no work permit. You can sign them as young as 16 yrs old and mold them to your liking. Downside is having to many when African nations comes around can hamper you January to February months.

Bundesliga: You can have 8 nation homegrown all different nation and 4 club homegrown from different nation and still be good for champions league registration. The 12 Germans registration is for the league and can use your reserve or youth team for that. essentially you can register up to 99 players for the league but they just want to have at least 12 Germans. This is awesome because their is no work-permit needed for the league and also you can sign any youngsters as young as 15 yrs old except overseas which 18 yrs old is the limit. Also check out unsigned players at the january transfer window. You wil find awesome American and Mexican and sometimes South American Free agents at the age of 16.17.18 for free.

Serie A: Non EU is limited to 4 each season. So if you have no non EU players then that season for July transfer window till the next July transfers window you have 4 you can buy. . Only way a Non EU slot opened is homegrown status, International caps at least 5, or transfers or expiring contracts. At the beginning of each season July transfer window you will receive an e-mail telling you how many non EU slots you have for the upcoming season. It Sucks because you can’t plan ahead or buy ahead say in April or may. you have to wait to a transfer or start of July transfer window to allocate you non-EU spots. Also u18 and u21 train together which is the only league that does that. leaving first team better training.

Hope you like this info.

Luigy · April 13, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I also use excel for my budget.
5 key players
6 first team
7 rotation
4 backups.

key players get 50% of total payroll
first team gets 30%
rotation gets 15 %
backup gets 5%

For example

payroll budget is 4,220,000

50%=2,211,000 divide by 5
30%=1,266,000 divide by 6
15%=633,000 divide by 7
5%= 211,000 divide by 4

Key players 422,000
first team 211,000
rotation 90,028
backups 52,750

    smilingrocket · April 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Now I’m itching to get into those numbers. Really cool.

Luigy · April 13, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Also if resigning your own players, if i have a huge transfer budget since I try for cheap young players and over time my transfer budget ballons to over 200 million dollars. I used that money on signing bonuses which usually helps to get which ever salary i want them at. If they do not fall in line then I sell them or loan them out.

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