Building A Dynasty Squad; Some Do’s And Don’ts

Sir Alex Ferguson was a manager renowned for his squad building skills. “Fergie’s never really looking at this moment, he’s always looking into the future,” Ryan Giggs once told newspapers. “Knowing what needs strengthening and what needs refreshing–he’s got that knack.” I want to look at my approach when building a squad, what is important and what isn’t, what are the do’s and don’ts. If you want your chance to build a dynasty á la Fergie’s, you might find this useful information.

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When building a squad, there are a couple of key aspects I focus on to put myself and the team on the road to success. I focus on the demographic structure of the squad, I look at a form of performance-based analysis and finally I worry about the transfer policy. The demographic structure defines the capacity of managers to make up a balanced squad from the point of view of age, experience and contract length so as to guarantee sufficient long term stability. Secondly, performance-based analysis refers to the managers’ ability to objectively identify the strengths and weaknesses of their teams in order to find collective and individual solutions to improve results or anticipate eventual problems. Lastly, transfer policy defines the managers’ capacity to renew the pool of players available to optimise, or maintain over the long term, group unity, demographic balance and performance levels. Ultimately, the aim is to have a talented squad with sufficient depth to it, without having to deal with too many unhappy players complaining about being left on the bench.

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Making Use Of The Big Spenders’ Hoarding

Much like in real life, FM15 sees the top clubs in Europe hoarding talent in a way similar to Scrooge McDuck acquiring money. These clubs often have a sugar daddy investing copious amounts of money, which allows them to make a play for pretty much any emerging starlet, whether they actually need these players or not. Whilst it can be hugely frustrating to lose your starlets to the money-bags from London, Paris, Madrid or Barcelona, you could also try to benefit from their behavior. In my eyes, there are two ways you can take this excessive hoarding from the top clubs and turn it against the top sides.

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Eliminating Agents; How To Reduce The Fees You Pay Those Leeches

If you’re anything like me, you hate wasting money when you’re trying to sign reinforcements for your squad. One of the thorns in my side in that regard consists of the ultimate douchebag-fee; the agent fee. Seriously, I’m forced to pay some pretentious prick, sitting in an office on his arse money to negotiate a deal with the player. Most of these pricks must have watched Jerry Maguire, because the higher profile their clients have, the more ridiculous their fees become.

Not an actual agent in-game, just in case you were wondering.
Not an actual agent in-game, just in case you were wondering.

So fortunately for me and everyone else who wants to reduce the cut of these vultures, there is a way to work around them by simply tricking them. This sounds good, right?

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Collateral Damage; What To Do With Excess (All) Strikers?

Let’s just presume you have fallen under the spell of the siren song of strikerless tactics. Otherwise, why would you be here, on Strikerless.com? By its very name, a strikerless formation has no need for actual strikers. So, when you are hell-bent on playing a strikerless formation, you are going to have to find solutions for your excess bagage; the strikers you have inherited in the squad you have just taken control of. What do you do with excess (most if not all) strikers?

So what are the most effective and efficient ways to get rid of those banes of my Football Manager existence; strikers? If you’re the kind of guy that’s not interested in long, winded posts, here’s the TL;DR version:

  1. Re-train them;
  2. Sell them,;
  3. Loan them away.

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Handling your first season in charge

You’ve just taken over a new club, now what do you do? In this article I will explain my views on what to to do during your first season in charge to set you up for the future. In my opinion it is all about building the infrastructure of the club as a whole. Everything you do has an impact on the club long term and short term, personally I work more on a long term basis.

In my experience, most football manager players I talk to tend to quit in their first season. I feel like people rely on having a successful first season, when really the focus should be building your squad and the club in general. So this is my take on how to handle your first season in charge.

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Making Even More Money In Pre-Season

In an earlier article I described how you could turn your pre-season friendlies into a way to make some serious money. As I mentioned in the closing paragraph of that article, I was experimenting with earning some serious money. Over the past few seasons in FM14, I have experimented with two tours in various countries, but I never yielded serious results.

Eventually, I opted to try touring three different countries in pre-season, which did rake in the kind of money I was hoping for. Besides a good million in gate receipts, my merchandise income has increased from 75 million to 86 million, which means a cool 11 million in extra revenue.

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Whilst it’s not an obscene amount of money, in fact you can only buy Gareth Bale’s right leg with it, it’s still a decent wad of cash to add to your war chest for the summer.

 

How To Turn Your Pre-Season Into A Money-making Scheme

Pre-season is good for a great many things. It can help you raise tactical familiarity, you get the chance to assess your squad and new signings, raise the overall fitness level of your players, boost morale in time for the new league campaign and there’s the opportunity to make some serious cash during pre-season.

Whilst I find all of these aspects to be equally important, I do find that I often overlook the financial aspect of the pre-season. However, the commercial and financial impact of the right pre-season friendlies can be immense. Allow me to show you with just a single screenshot.

The end of season commercial update.
The end of season commercial update.

That’s 34 million from non-domestic merchandise sales. True, I am in charge of what is now a world class club, but the message also indicated the sales have risen due to a tour through China. This means that the right set of friendlies can not only help you raise tactical familiarity, allow you to assess your squad and new signings, raise the overall fitness level of your players, boost morale in time for the new league campaign. No, there’s the actual possibility to raise enough money to sign one or two extra players.

Again, I realise that the team I have taken under my wing is one of the best in the world in terms of players and reputation and the amount of money made in pre-season will be considerably less for lower level clubs, but just cut that number in half or divide it six ways. For a League 2 side for example, you’d still be able to raise roughly 5.5 million.

In terms of the money-making scheme, let me first distinguish two forms of income influenced by the pre-season friendlies. First of all, you can gain money from the sale of match tickets. Secondly, the right pre-season games influence your commercial sales, both domestically and abroad.

The sale of match tickets is easy enough to explain. You play a game, people visit the game and have to buy a ticket for the match. The money gained from this match is shared between the two sides playing the match, though not always evenly.

This leads me to my next point. There are guides out there saying you should always, at all costs, play friendlies in your own stadium. I disagree with this statement. During home-games, you have to pay a sum to your opponent to show up. Depending on the reputation of your opponent and your own reputation, both the sum you have to pay as well as the projected income tend to vary. When the income you make is not a lot more than the sum you have to pay your opponent, a home-game is just not profitable.

Again, allow me to show you with a simple example. I want to play a match versus the best team in the world in terms of reputation, which is FC Barcelona. Let’s see what we can expect from a home game against Barça.

The data for a Barça home game.
The data for a Barça home game.

A home game against Barcelona in our 64k stadium would bring in 1.4 million. Of that sum, we’d lose 750k to Barça as a sort of participation fee, which means our profit would be around 650k. Not too shabby, but let’s look at the potential revenue for an away game against the same opponent.

The data for a Barça away game.
The data for a Barça away game.

As you can clearly see, an away game will earn us a cool, clean 1.1 million. Barça will obviously make a similar fee, but that would be the participation fee we’d receive for just showing up. When you are arranging friendlies, experiment a bit with home and away games to see which games yield maximum financial results.

Please keep in mind that if you are in charge of a lower league side that whilst these money maker games are financially sound, they can be detrimental to squad morale when your players get their collective arses kicked during the matches. For example, when you’re in control of Compostela, challenging Barça or Real may be a smart move financially, but on the pitch, your ass is grass and they’re the lawn-mower. Metaphorically speaking naturally.

This leads me to the next point I wish to make. The importance of commercially interesting friendlies. As you could see in the very first screenshot of this article, it was absolutely a factor to be reckoned with. The Chinese tour during pre-season apparently yielded interesting results in terms of non-domestic merchandise sales.

It makes sense in a way. That trip to China is about much more than the football. In real life, Manchester United were one of the first clubs to go on a big preseason tour, and their worldwide support and sponsorship deals have subsequently given them an advantage over the rest of the league. FM tries to mimick this by making the Asian and North American countries, which traditionally lack a strong domestic league but to boast a large number of football fans, commercially interesting options. From a commercial perspective, playing friendlies all over the world offer a club the chance to expand their brand name and fan base, strengthen brand loyalty, build global partnerships and generally make a large amount of money.

Now in terms of which countries are interesting ones to visit, I must admit I have not tried every available option there is, simply because I don’t have that much spare time on my hands. What I can tell you is that various Asian countries offer interesting possibilities, not only in terms of revenue income, but also in terms of commercial income.

In no particular order, these are countries which have significantly boosted my income when I played there during pre-season.

  • China;
  • Japan;
  • South Korea;
  • USA.

I am sure there are other viable options as well. India, Thailand and Indonesia for example are all viable options in real life, but I have no idea how their economic and commercial ratings are in the game right now. When trying to balance revenue with commercial interest, I can tell you that none of these sides have high reputation clubs you can play to gain some direct revenue income, which is why I have not played pre-season tours there. I can therefore not share any data on the commercial possibilities in other countries. More will follow in the near future.

UPDATE 29-04-2014

I have gone down a second road, by arranging two tours during pre-season. I was curious if I could gain extra commercial income by arranging tours through two different Asian countries. I was actually pretty convinced I could, I was very interested to know how much extra income I could rake in, as this would help me determine what the value for a specific country. I say, see for yourself.

The end of season commercial update after two Asian tours in pre-season
The end of season commercial update after two Asian tours in pre-season

You can see for yourself, two tours equal an extra income of nearly 12 million in terms of non-domestic sales. However, domestic sales appear to have dropped because we haven’t played any domestic friendlies. The amount of friendlies we have played remained the same, we just played them abroad. It’s not extra money we’re making, it’s a re-distribution of our income sources. Next season, I will be looking increasing the income in total.