Up until I started playing CM/FM, I used to play games likes Sensible World of Soccer, Player Manager 2 and Ultimate Soccer Manager. When it came to getting new players in, it was usually a case of buying players I'd seen do well on Match of the Day, Eurogoals or Football Italia. I was always watching matches to see if there was someone I could sign, and I'd get a notepad and make a note of them, then look them up in the game.
In previous years, I've taken an LLM-style route of only using scouts to find players, and not using any knowledge outside of my save to influence things. Been doing that for a few years now, but now I'm getting bored with it, it's realistic but it's hard work and usually I get overtaken by. After seeing brief glimpses of Adam Johnson today on Sky Sports, I'm about to break my 7-year tradition and go back to my "as seen on TV & notepad" method (although I still give them the once-over with a scout). It's actually more fun, and less of a slog finding talent, and has also reignited my interest in watching matches I wouldn't normally watch - just like the old days.
So, how do you find players? Do you stick to scouts only, do you use the search list to filter down players, or do you see someone on TV, scribble their name on the back of a fag packet and buy them immediately?