This is a proposal that ties together possible solutions for a wide variety of common and not so common complaints about FM09 in a single package that I feel has the potential to elevate subsequent versions of this series not just above current complaints but potentially to an entire new level of sports simulation for this franchise.
One thing that has always been evident to me in Football Manager is that despite the addition of player interaction and staff feedback, the manager has never really felt like he has the elite of footballing knowledge and genius at his fingertips and he certainly has never been able to "talk football" with the games characters in any manner. The greatest tactical and coaching backroom staff in the world do not in any shape or form educate the manager in coaching and tactics; and they should do.
The CM/FM series has always been as much an educational tool for the footballing enthuisiast as a game in the years I have played it. You always know what youngsters to keep an eye out for in real life if you play this series, you always know the rules and regulations of multiple competitions, and there is a vast historical and statistical database within the game that I doubt any single player every really scratches the surface of throughout a career.
My proposal stems from the unity of FM as a source of football knowledge, the depth of the games tactical and coaching systems, the problems of getting to grips with these systems and understanding the challenges faced and the solutions available, and my own dissapointment at the lack of backroom staff interaction and a much wider knowledge base included within the game.
My proposal is the development of an ingame footballing encyclopaedia that contains data relevant to understanding the function of the game from a managerial perspective, and delivering this information to the manager through the medium of club staff. Further the game should track manager behaviour and the behaviour of his opponents and the behaviour of clubs in the managers competitions in key areas and provide feedback regarding trends, assistance regarding weaknesses and advice regarding areas the manager is concerned with, through the medium of club staff.
In short I am proposing the development of a system of game relevant encyclopaedic football information and vastly expanded perpetual contextual support for the player via the backroom staff.
An example of this system would be this:
A manager pulls up his staff screen and looks for the highest Tactical Knowledge attribute in his club. He pulls up the profile of this staff member and clicks on the Tactical Knowledge attribute to reveal a drop down menu. This drop down menu contains the options of Formations : Positions : Tactical Concepts : Tactical Trends of (Your League) : Tactical Trends versus (Your Club) etc. Choosing the option Formations would introduce the manager to a wealth of information regarding Footballing Formations, there real life premises and their relevance and implimentation within Football Manager. This screen would also contain tactical information based upon your own squad and feedback from the staff member regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your players, your squad and your club utilising these formations in your league. In short a tactical discussion with your clubs own tactical guru.
This would work similarly for all areas of expertise in all staff members. Physiotherapists would educate the manager in the concepts behind fitness and suggest strategies for maintaining condition and reducing fatigue through a drop down menu from the Physiotherapy attribute. He would explain every type of injury in terms of game consequences for the manager, and he would describe both problems and solutions to conditioning and fitness problems for every member of your playing squad when asked or when certain values are reached.
Obviously such a system would be a vast undertaking but as the Tutorial system shows such a system is in time perhaps inevitable to deal with the problems faced by such a complex management simulation of a real world game where knowledge and advice and communication is an integral part of the entire experience.
There is one final opportunity and that is to take the entire system of assistance, advice and information online in a wiki format at its basic level where backroom feedback and contextual advice remains the realm of SI developers but where the depth of information held by this system is enhanced by connecting it to the internet and a purpose built football manager wiki. I think this system would supply the only fundamental aspect of management this game lacks in itself, the ability to talk football and learn football within the context of the game.