I recently purchased FM11 and started a game as Darlington.
In the past I always found Football Manager a little too easy once you got the hang of it. However this latest version seems to be balanced almost perfectly.
My first few seasons were pretty straightforward. I dumped a load of deadweight and went looking for some nice free transfers and loans. I finished 2nd in the BSQP in the first season and was promoted fairly easily through the playoffs - my main issue was sorting out the finances.
I then had a great big dollop of luck in seasons 2 and 3 scraping into the playoffs in League 1 and 2 and pretty much fluking promotion through the playoffs. So far so good and fairly typical of my previous FM experiences.
My fourth, fifth and sixth seasons were a real walk up call. I almost got relegated in 13/14 (a couple of wins in my last two games saved me) and found the financial side a real struggle having to regularly sell key players just to balance the books and average attendances dipping. I eventually got promoted to the Premiership in 16/17 but that was on the back of pretty much bankrupting the club in the process in a 'do or die' effort. If I hadn't been promoted that season I would probably have had to sell 3/4 of my team.
What I noticed was that in the time that I took to get to the Championship and then get promoted a group of teams were taking advantage of the Premiership financial goldmine to really strengthen their teams and teams being relgated from the Premiership were usually bouncing straight back up again thanks in large part to the serious financial advantage they had. In previous versions of FM After 6/7 seasons the divisons were really mixed up but in FM11 things (particularly the teams in the Premiership and Championship) seem much more stable - which I think is much more realistic.
Eventually I did make it into the Premiership and slowly improved my position but then came acorss another roadblock - The top 6. In the 8 seasons it had taken for me to battle through from the non-league to the top flight the same 6/7 teams had been qualifying for Europe every season and as a result gaining a HUGE financial advantage over the rest of the league. My first couple of seasons were a real struggle and then I hit a plateau of performance. For three successive seasons I had to fight tooth and nail just to make it to sixth. I ended up having to almost assume defeat against Chelsea, Liverpool, Man U, Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle (strangely).
My average crowd inproved slightly and after 6 consecutive seasons of Premiership TV money I was finally able to break through and win the league - even though I was still having to sell 2/3 good players every season just to make ends meet. After 13 seasons I so far have only one League Cup and one Premiership title to my name. Maybe that makes me a crap player but personally I just wanted to make this post to thank SI for what has been a thoroughly great game which (at least in my opinion) is more 'realistic' in terms of the impact of finances than any I have played previously:
Thanks... It really was (and is) a fun game. based on current performances it may take another 10 seasons before I reach the ultimate objective of winning the Champions League
I think LLM really have a struggle on their hands now. The amount of cash being generated in the Premiership makes it REALLY hard to get out of the Championship - especially after a few seasons have gone by which allows even small Premiership clubs to amass pots of cash (and good squads).
In my game Bristol City got promoted to the Premiership in the first season and thanks to the cash they received they managed to maintain their Premiership status for 13 years. Even teams that get relegated from the Premiership tend to go back up after 1 or 2 seasons because their squads, which may not have been good enough for the Premiership, kick arse in the Championship (and they have usually had enough spare cash to upgrade their training/youth facilities which benefits them long term too).
The exception to this are teams relegated in season 1 or 2 who may not have had enough time to build a really good squad. Any team that spends 3 or more consecutive seasons on Premiership money is pretty much guaranteed to remain in the Premiership - or if relegated to bounce back up pretty quickly.
As a LLM you face a real challenge when you get to the Championship because you will find that any decent players you develop are constantly being tempted away by teams that have benefited from Premiership money and often the only way to hold onto them is to pay exorbitant wages which run the risk of bankrupting your own team. Even by selling 2/3 of my best players each season I could barely cover running costs or develop club facilities. Hell I had only got to 'average' training facilities after spending a couple of seasons in the Premiership and finally managing to have a bit of spare cash in the bank in June/July when the Board tends to make its decisions on facility upgrades.
While people can and do argue over the impact (positive and negative) of TV money on football I think it is a credit to SI that they seem to have created a game which so accurately reflects this and in the process created a really HUGE challenge for LLM to overcome...
Am sick about all the moaning FM11 has recieved I personally think this is better than last years.
On 10 I could pick a basic formation I am rubbish with formations and win everything on one formation.
On 11 I pick one formation usually a version of 4-5-1 attacking and after a while it can be unpredictable. I have taken Bradford up from league 2 as runners up and am having average results in league 1 and on for a top 10 finish.
My point is like the Darlo lad in this thread I am experiencing real gameplay for once and promotion is not a guarentee.
I never know how you guys do it. I've always thought the games have been too hard
It seems that the financial representation of football has/will become in the next couple of decades is very accurate.
One good season can propel you to greatness and richness in the modern game. As a Leeds fan I know how delicate the financial balance can be. A couple more points in 2000/01 and we would have been financially set for the forseeable future, however we all know how that turned out.
It definitely makes for a good in-game challenge though - trying desperately to break through the Iron Curtain that is the top 6. I hope the OP can eventually do it and at least get into the Champions' League.
I find the game harder than the previous versions, but not in a good way. I tried a few clubs, with different formations/styles/mentalities, and most of the times my team seems to be very "unlucky" with the game stats (ball possession, shots and c.c.s.), no matter what... it's unbelievable in some matches. It's happening to many people.
Plus the fact that you can't play properly with 3 defenders (ME bug);
The transfer system have a few issues;
The 2D game runs jerky (not only to me, a lot of people already complained about this, and with 3d mode too);
The "set piece creator" was very disappointing.
In overall I'm disappointed with FM11, I was hoping that it was like base structure of FM10, with that real time negotiation (which was a very good implementation, even if it's still a bit bugged, it's comprehensible), with a set piece creator (something that's still missing, and makes a big part of the game), some retouches here and there, and obviously the updates.