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Thread: Lower League in FM - No scouting, no development, no money, no talent?

  1. #1
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    Default Lower League in FM - No scouting, no development, no money, no talent?

    No talent? Of course not. But you'd think so in FM. As someone who prefers to play in the lower leagues, I just find it a really depressingly dull experience in FM at the moment. It bears so little resemblance to reality, the game serves it so poorly, that it makes for an unrewarding play.

    There are a few things that bother me, so I'm going to work through them (sorry, this'll be an essay!).

    Scouting

    The first is, bigger clubs in FM don't scout down the leagues. You can use the editor to create a 21 year-old with 100CA and 150PA, and he'll just sit at his non-league club and go nowhere. There's plenty of talent down there in FM, but the game doesn't scout that way, so they never move. Contrast that to reality and players like Stockdale, Kightly, Smalling, Beckford, McLean, Mackail-Smith, Campbell, Ricketts, Taylor, Pilkington, Foster, Holt, Morison, Varney, and many more, who have moved up from non-league to play top-flight football.

    There have been 7 or 8 transfers from non-league to the FL and Premiership this January, and there's players like Appiah, Obeng, Vardy, Blair, Walker, McLaughlin, Matt, Cieslewickz, Berry, Parkinson, Brizell, Beautyman, Newson, Prior, Watkins, West, Reeves, Byerley, Creighton, and many more who are being scouted, bidded for, offered trials etc. Non of this happens in FM. You'd never see a player like Jason Prior of Bognor getting a trial at Newcastle in FM. You'd never see Dan Burn moving from Darlington to Fulham for £350k. You'd never see teams like Blackpool, West Ham, Rangers, chasing Jamie Vardy of Fleetwood and having bids of £750k+ turned down!

    So, I think it's clear FM has to look at this.

    Cash transfers

    The next obvious flaw is the lack of money in transfers in FM at lower leagues. Again just in January, I can see at least 20 transfers involving smaller clubs (L1 and below) that involved fees. Mainly four- and five-figure fees. Now, have a look at the world transfers on your game of FM. Pick a month, and see how many transfers in England involved smaller clubs, and smaller fees. You'll be lucky if it hits double figures in any given transfer window (and I can't recall seeing a four or three figure fee!). The financial modelling in FM just doesn't reflect reality. A few years back, I remember complaing that FM didn't reflect reality in that it lacked free transfers at lower levels, that post-Bosman freebies just weren't happening. Now it's gone toof ar the other way.

    Look at non-league (now and recently) clubs like Crawley, Fleetwood, York, Luton, Wrexham, Burton etc. All made several cash signings every season. The notion that cash transfers in non-league and lower-league should be non-existent is utterly false. So it's another thing that needs fixing.

    It seems to me that the transfer market in FM at lower levels is driven by a process that can be summarised as:

    1. Clubs give their better players 3 year deal. These players rarely show ambition and turn this down.
    2. The wages of these deals go up and up, until the club can no longer afford to renew.
    3. At this point the player is released, and finally will be signed by another club (often the higher clubs that should have been scouting and bidding before).

    At each of these stages we can see critical errors.
    1. Players who have ability and potential should be turning down longer deals, and only opting for 1 year deals as they wait to see if their club gets promoted (York's left-back Jason Meredith is an example of this).
    2. This, I'm quite sure, is why so many clubs in FM have inadequate squads. They end up being driven into a situation where two-thirds of their wage budget rests on half-a-dozen players, meaning they can barely afford to sign 16 players, meaning they have to fill the squad with loanees and YTs. The clubs need to manage their finances better, and players wages at this level need to grow with less speed. As soon as a human takes over such a club, they can enforce good practice and easily build the strongest squad in the league. If you know what you are doing, you can take a club from the BSBP to the Championship in consecutive seasons on FM. The AI must improve to make it competitive.
    3. Good players shouldn't have to wait for this moment. Teams from leagues above should be actively scouting for potential, and for performance. They should be bidding for these players.

    Again, we see several obvious points for improvement.


    Talent in lower-leagues

    So how does this talent in real-life end up in the lower leagues?

    I'd say we can identify two types.
    The first is the late bloomer, someone whose ability is not identified as a teenager (or, they were at a pro club till 13/14, then didn't get any further deal), and therefore they develop through non-league sides. I listed quite a few of these players earlier. We don't get enough of this in FM because too few decent players come through lower-league setups, and because FM takes the frankly insulting view that players at such clubs basically don't progress, have no hope of ever moving beyond a basic CA.

    The second is where a player comes through the academy of a big club, but when released they opt for first-team football at a lower level, even part-time football, as they feel this is their best option. Again, we don't see this in FM for a couple of reasons.
    The first is, players in FM seem to level out to their PA. So if they have a Championship PA, they'll go and sit in the stiffs at a Championship club as opposed to taking the lower-league and first-team action option. So we need to see a bit more variation here, driven by player character.
    The second is, players in FM seem too aware of their CA/PA and therefore demand unrealistic wages. In real-life, the type of players I'm talking about take wages of £40k pa and less. Some may only get expenses at a part-time club. But they want to make their name on the pitch, so take that route. In FM, any player released by a PL club wants wages of £50k, £100k, £150k pa. It's just not realistic. These are young lads with no first team action under the belts, yet they want wages that the established senior pros don't even get. FM needs to build experience and age into the way wage demands are calculated.


    Conclusions

    Hopefully, I've made a pretty strong case for reform here. I rarely post any more, so when I do it's because something has really made my gaming intolerable. It'd be great to get a response from SI, and I'll try reply to people who post. It'd be good even to get a few people agreeing, just to show there's a case. I'd also welcome further examples and ideas of flaws in this area. I did consider going into the lack of goals at lower levels here, but I'll save that for another post (but seriously, compare an average season of BSBP in FM to reality, have a look at individual striker tallies too, FM isn't working right here).

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Excellent observations, pretty much covers many of my gripes with the game below the top divisions & put across in a way that I could never do.

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    As ever, I agree with pretty much everything Dave says. As a Sheffield United manager, I ought to be looking down the pyramid in England for hidden gems in the game far more often that I actually do. Almost all my purchases tend to be (a) players released by Premiership clubs, or (b) from abroad. In reality, neither of these approaches really happen for the Blades.

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    Well it's been mentioned many times, but the reputation system I think is no longer fit for purpose. Form should be counted - how many times do you read about players getting a club's attention following a good game against them?

    The wages thing is an issue, too, and you are right that players lower down start demanding silly money (way above their abilities). Now if those players had the chance of being bought by a bigger club for some cash (rather than having to offer for £0 and still struggling to get rid), it would at give managers the choice of paying higher wages and hoping you'd be able to sell a little down the line. As you say, the current situation is that you have to let contracts run-down (and then see they've signed for somebody else for much less money).

    Agents at the lower level are a real issue, too. In my Serie C2 game, agents start to become an issue early on, demanding excessive fees for ordinary players. How many players at that level even have agents?

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    Strongly agree with everything you just said Dave, unfortunately I doubt the situation will ever be as we hope
    You know as well as I, that lower level football (and not just referring to lower leagues in England, I'm meaning any league that isn't considered an elite league) has always had issues as the game tries to manage teams in them like they are in a well funded and rep'ed league, yet fails due to it not being able to work

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    Absolutely spot on. The complete lack of realism in the lower league transfer world really detracts from the game, and is likely because the AI's approach to transfers is far too rigid. For example, I currently have an excellent 19-year-old Dane playing for me Swindon Supermarine side in the BSS. He currently has Championship side Preston interested, yet I am 99% certain they won't make a bid, or even an enquiry. Then they'll be replaced by another side at that level, who won't make any bids, and so forth.

    The trial thing is very evident too. If I have a player performing at this level, why do I not have clubs up the pyramid requesting to take him on trial? Trials aren't just used for free transfers.

    Anyone who scores 25+ goals at Conference level attracts the attention of league clubs. They don't in FM. Not to mention not nearly enough lower Champ/League One sides take a chance on Conference stand-outs. Jamie Mackie, Stuart Fleetwood, Steve Morison and most recently Charlie Sheringham all got league moves due to their play in the Conference Premier/North/South. Two of them are now making an impact in the Premiership. Right now league clubs won't touch them unless they have a high PA, which brings into account the issue of AI clubs not taking performance into account enough when buying.
    Last edited by CityAndColour; 23-01-2012 at 12:14.

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    Is part of the problem not the rating of players in terms of ca and pa? The researchers can't really push the boat out that the likes of a Stockdale is good enough for Premiership football without him showing it. Random PA's perhaps are the way to counter this although it would be somewhat a step away from realism.

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    I'm broadly in agreement - well, 95% really. However, in my current save where I started in the BSN I came across exceptions.
    I got promoted in my first season, whereupon West Brom offered £250K for my best player, a 'tick key player' DC and my vice-captain. Off he went.
    Got promotions in the next 2 seasons with Wrexham - my bogey team whom we haven't beaten in 6 meetings, mainly due to a beast of a Norwegian TM they bought in the first season. Very glad to see him go for £900K+ (from League Two) - to Sion in Switzerland. Some player from Barnet went for a cool million. Having said that, I think a maximum of half a dozen players have gone for any significant fee in each transfer window from BSN to League Two so I agree that the numbers are ridiculously low.

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    +1 (albeit that below is at a top team, but something similar happened to me in terms of wages)

    I had a scenario where I got a backup player (contract is 22k a week, and is set to backup, he's average at best, nothing special but decent enough for a backup role)

    I bought him in January 2019 (8th I think). Feb 12th, he demands a new contract! WHAT!! 35 days after he signed for me, at the age of 22!!

    The only thing I could put it down to was that he played all the games from the 8th to the 12/13th, due to 2 first teamers getting injured. So wanted a better contract from backup to first teamer.

    Didn't think nothing of it until I actually seen what he demanded, First Team, 78k Wages, 2.8million Loyalty Bonus, 2million Agent Fee, 15% Yearly Wage Rise and 10% profit after sale.

    Still shaking my head..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave9ffc View Post
    Is part of the problem not the rating of players in terms of ca and pa? The researchers can't really push the boat out that the likes of a Stockdale is good enough for Premiership football without him showing it. Random PA's perhaps are the way to counter this although it would be somewhat a step away from realism.
    It's not about ratings. You can give the player a good PA, he still won't get scouted. The game is programmed that way, clubs just don't "look down".

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    Quote Originally Posted by CityAndColour View Post
    Absolutely spot on. The complete lack of realism in the lower league transfer world really detracts from the game, and is likely because the AI's approach to transfers is far too rigid. For example, I currently have an excellent 19-year-old Dane playing for me Swindon Supermarine side in the BSS. He currently has Championship side Preston interested, yet I am 99% certain they won't make a bid, or even an enquiry. Then they'll be replaced by another side at that level, who won't make any bids, and so forth.

    The trial thing is very evident too. If I have a player performing at this level, why do I not have clubs up the pyramid requesting to take him on trial? Trials aren't just used for free transfers.

    Anyone who scores 25+ goals at Conference level attracts the attention of league clubs. They don't in FM. Not to mention not nearly enough lower Champ/League One sides take a chance on Conference stand-outs. Jamie Mackie, Stuart Fleetwood, Steve Morison and most recently Charlie Sheringham all got league moves due to their play in the Conference Premier/North/South. Two of them are now making an impact in the Premiership. Right now league clubs won't touch them unless they have a high PA, which brings into account the issue of AI clubs not taking performance into account enough when buying.
    I don't believe form is ever used in any meaningful way by the AI, it's mainly rep and/or CA and PA based (hence why you used to get very average players with a high rep winning major awards).

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    Total agreement here as a LLM myself.

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    Maybe something like a PPM or a check box or another hidden attribute called "Likelyhood of being a hidden gem" would replicate this in the game.

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    I think the main problem with scouting can come down to one thing, and one thing alone: reputation.

    Reputation should not be a part of scouting imo, unless a team is specifically looking for a 'trophy' signing.

    Performances should be used to judge ability, while performances and age should be used to judge potential.

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    Great thread. It's frankly ridiculous how easy it is to rise through the lower tiers just by (1) beating the AI to free transfers of players whose contracts should never have expired, (2) actually being able to keep wages in check, and (3) hardly ever losing players to higher divisions (I'd swear this happened more in previous versions, but it's probably just my perception).

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    As a Luton fan, I would say this is spot on. Every year on the patches between the start and January update, we see pre-arranged real life deals with five figure fees. Last season there were 3 I think! Yet every game has a transfer budget of £0 at non-league clubs & never sign any players for fees. This is also why financial difficulties are few & far between on FM.

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    Completely agree with all of these points - the only thing that I have seen in this version which is an improvement on previous versions of the game is (non human) lower league teams progressing up into the Championship and Prem in long term games - this never used to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chile_paul View Post
    Completely agree with all of these points - the only thing that I have seen in this version which is an improvement on previous versions of the game is (non human) lower league teams progressing up into the Championship and Prem in long term games - this never used to happen.
    I'm actually concerned by the rise of some lower league clubs as it appears that it is the cost of Premier League & Championship clubs who get relegated not handling their change in circumstances & we could be back to the days of CM3 where some very big clubs end up at the foot of the football league.

    Currently in my game (2019/20) Preston are looking odds on to be playing next season in the Blue Square North, Reading & Crystal Palace are at risk of being relegated to the Blue Square Premier, in each case this is due to them holding on to their highest paid players & being unable to maintain a senior squad. Reading currently have 4 contract f/t players with 2 of them costing £51,000 per week plus appearance bonuses.

    To put Reading's wage spending into context I am spending £11,789 per week in L2.
    Last edited by Barside; 23-01-2012 at 19:11.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ackter View Post
    I think the main problem with scouting can come down to one thing, and one thing alone: reputation.

    Reputation should not be a part of scouting imo, unless a team is specifically looking for a 'trophy' signing.

    Performances should be used to judge ability, while performances and age should be used to judge potential.
    Totally agree. Reputation might have been a necessary evil back in the day but the whole FM scouting\buying AI is built around it and its looking increasingly like its reached its limits. Either have the AI judge players on performances or add seasonal reputation that's determined by performances and fluctuates much more then normal reputation and have that as the primary buying criteria.

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    I just tested with my Prem team, 8th season. I scouted the 20 highest valued under 18s at non-league clubs on my save. At least 8-9 have 3* potential for a premier league side & 4 are already at least 1.5* and at least league 1 level. Yet not one club is interested in signing any of these players in the game. If this was real life teams would be queueing up. IRL Chelsea just bought 3 13 year old brothers from Luton. In the game, the lower league teams academies are neglected!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    Reading currently have 4 contract f/t players with 2 of them costing £51,000 per week plus appearance bonuses.

    To put Reading's wage spending into context I am spending £11,789 per week in L2.
    So Reading have been relegated twice and their max wage has nearly tripled?

    I think reputation has a place and there are several cases of teams signing players on reputation alone. Robbie Keane's loan to Aston Villa is one example of a player signed based on their reputation who wasn't a "trophy" signing. However, the performances a scout sees should have a bigger impact.

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    that is the thing, the premier league teams pick up players players already in the game, and newgens from other countries.
    i myself got a player from leyton orient for 180k, he got into the first team because of injuries after 7 months, and was there for a good month. he even got called up for englandu21's, had barca after sanogo, real madrid after a spanish regen i purchased... but no one after they guy who broke into the first team.
    also trying to get a 189 PA american, no one else in interested.
    my scouts pick up these great newgens in the doldrums (got 2 players newgens from ireland), so mmaybe the computers should be on a scouting system. then they would find them.
    or maybe they just dont scout there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCIAG View Post
    So Reading have been relegated twice and their max wage has nearly tripled?
    I think what ruined Reading was the Premier League TV money bug, I assume that every area of the game assumed they would receive the full TV income so overheads increased accordingly & the AI was unable to cope with the fact they do not receive the right income due to the daft database error.

    Preston & Palace have no such excuse, I'm also keeping a keen eye on QPR who are still paying Tarabt £38,000 per week to sit on the bench in league 1, 2 starts & 4 sub appearances after 21 games is madness. I'm guess that the reason a club has not activated his modest release fee will no doubt be that he wants £50,000 a week.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shake Appeal View Post
    Great thread. It's frankly ridiculous how easy it is to rise through the lower tiers just by (1) beating the AI to free transfers of players whose contracts should never have expired, (2) actually being able to keep wages in check, and (3) hardly ever losing players to higher divisions (I'd swear this happened more in previous versions, but it's probably just my perception).
    totally agree. I've taken Salisbury from BSS to the Prem in 7 seasons and it's been pretty easy. I have lost none of my players to bigger clubs, I've had none of my players complain on the odd occasion I've refused a bid, and I've had no players 'want to move to a bigger club'. This definitely happened more often in earlier versions and it used to be a lot more realistic (and harder)

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    I agree that AI squad building and transfer policy is in dire shape and is in need of a lot of work. The blame is almost entirely on the extremely prevalent use of "reputation" in all areas of the game.

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    I tried as Manager of West Ham to scout the Blue Square to find some hidden gems but without success which is such a shame. Back when football was football The Hammers signed Alan Devonshire from Southall for a pittance and he went on to be a great. In the 80's we signed Frank McAvennie from St. Mirren in Scotland who were quite low at the time and Mark Ward from lowly Oldham and they both made the step up effortlessly. However IRL I can't think really of the last time a Club did that and made a star out of a lower League player. I would love to find one or two from a Hampton and Waterlooville or a Maidenhead but have never got to do that. Is it because I am looking for the wrong things in a scout report or is the talent just not there?

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    Love this thread, I play quite a lot in the lower leagues; it's so difficult to rise up the divisions IRL and its not represented well enough in FM. Completely agree with all of your points. I hope SI read this thread.

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    Fantastic thread and a subject which I've wanted to see addressed for a long time now. I don't think anyone is suggesting that superstars should be routinely cropping up in non-league, but there should be more Premier League and Championship level talent, certainly more L1 and L2 talent and it should be identified more by big clubs when it does appear.

    On the subject of clubs ruining themselves with high wages for 6 or 7 players I think a lot of the problems have been caused by the introduction of the 'Match Highest Earner' clause. As others have pointed out, one of the big advantages for human players is that we are much better at controlling our wage budgets. This works in multiple ways (identifying who is worth what they're being paid and moving out those who aren't; offering sensible contract lengths depending on age and potential etc.), but a major issue is that the AI is much to ready to hand out Match Highest Earner clauses and Yearly wage increases. In FM11 and FM12 I have taken over Championship clubs and found a wage bill primarily bloated by 5 or 6 individuals on high wages. Usually 2 or 3 of these will have a Match Highest Earner clause of which only one will be worth what he is being paid. Others will be in the third or fourth year of a contract with a 15% yearly increase. In this way players who are given maybe 2k or 3k/week more than they are actually worth end up getting 7 or 8k more. This creates inflation in the game and means that 1) by the 8th season or so any club that loses revenue is in serious trouble and 2) signing 24 or 25 year olds is extremely expensive because they refuse to take a pay cut to what they are actually worth so you're left either paying a back up £35k/week or picking up someone on a free who has sat in the reserves for 2 years.

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    A brilliant post and I have a few examples from my last 18 months of playing that made me think 'what is the AI doing'?

    I saw a current premier league side drop down to league 2 and had to cut down to an 8k per week wage budget as they were is such a bad state. In this case they had a midfielder still on 12k a week and 7 physio's! The majority of the squad was kids on 150 quid a week and needless to say it was unbalanced.

    I got promoted to the championship after 3 seasons. Picked up a centre mid from Gillingham who was classed as a good championship player on a free. Nobody else offered him a contract except the club I got him from. Seriously though, how did nobody spot him or go after him until I made the move? He should of moved a long time before I had gone in for him.

    A regen on my current save is a striker called Michael Shepherd. He started at Man City before he got released at 18. Joined Macclesfield who are now in the BSP and hit 29 goals in his 1st season in senior football just in the league. Come February this season and he has scored 19 already but nobody is interested! Sorry but he had 48 league goals to his name and he is still not even 20 yet, there should be a queue longer than the proverbial country mile for his services.

    Probably the most important of the lot, In my only full season at Wrexham, I got 7 youth candidate players sign for me who were classed as future decent championship players. 5 years later and Wrexham are now in the championship and 4 of those are playing regularly for the club, 1 is a backup and the other 2 got released and disappeared off the face of the earth after getting released and not being offered a deal anywhere else. How did none of these ever get signed by another club at any stage?

    There are also many other notable things in my current save. I found a couple of Championship and League 1 clubs with hardly any players at all under 28. They have just generally kept the same players and let them age without trying to improve the squad or trying to bring in younger players. On the other side of the coin, Chelmsford got promoted to league 2 and in their 1st season the oldest player was aged 22 with the vast majority of players aged 18 or 19, luckily them improved over the course of the season and won on the last day to survive. I know its only a general rule of thumb but I am of the belief that most managers try to balance age and experience in a first team squad.
    As I look down in the Blue Square leagues I find that many other clubs have players aged 18-22 and hardly anybody older than this at all. It seems that if a player hasn't moved up to the football league by the time he is 23 then his career is over. He will leave his club after rejecting a deal or not being offered 1 at all, sit around as a free agent without getting any sort of offer and then retire to be never seen again. The clubs then replace these players with youngsters released by bigger sides or produced by themselves and the process continues. They even sign some players from big clubs like PSG and Ajax! What is the betting that Michael Shepherd will have scored 100 goals by 23 and then retire because he can't get a club?
    Last edited by Things Could Get Messi; 25-01-2012 at 04:09.

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    Some very very valid points...

    However I think there's are two more key factors to take into account too.

    1) Players' reputation also works in our favour... Just like our club can sometimes lose some good players for free, there'll be PLENTY of other, equally good, players we'll be able to sign for free (often for a lower wage).

    2) Human managers have a huge advantage over AI, so the shortcomings of lower league scouting [although if the player is deemed as good enough, aka sufficiently high PA for the standard of our club, you'll get a report/recommendation].


    Also, FM offers a much much bigger chance for "rags to riches" stories than real life. It'd not directly affect the transfers dynamics or anything, but it may play a part in the scenarios the OP is reporting.

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    I'll stick my two cents in here and note that I often play down in the boiler room that is NI2. There seems to be a very hard breakpoint in the willingness of clubs to spend even $2 for a player. Literally. Many times I have offered surplus players (who should be welcome at other clubs in the league as well as the non-league clubs) for $2 and been rejected across the board. Then, I offer the player for zero and five or six bids come out of the woodwork. The offering clubs will then hire my guy for six times what I was paying. This is made even stranger by the fact that these offering clubs are already paying enormous salaries to other players on their rosters. So, they clearly have the money. Overall, I find it very difficult to unload players with substantial transfer value (by the standards of NI2) unless I literally give them away. Then, of course, the fans hang me in effigy (a small town near the border).

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    There are certainly some very strange goings on with finances in FM12.

    I've seen clubs employing 30+ scouts (one low(ish) league club has over 40), there are a group of players in the English Championship on £90pw yet I see Blue Square North players on £1600pw, managers are getting tucked up by chairman with less than 10 managers in the entire global game earning more than £30k & a BSP club accepting £10k over 3 years for a player in January because his contract was expiring in the summer.

    Much like the ME the financial modelling is starting to show signs of its age & is struggling to cope with the extreme differences in simulating the finances of the elite clubs, high turnover but generally broke clubs & the fodder at the foot of the football hierarchy.

    I really think that FM has reached a peak of its current capabilities (iirc the core code is over 10 years old now) as it more or less applies the same principles to all clubs & leagues in the game yet it is obvious that other than using the same basic equipment the daily business of football at Ochilview Park has nothing in common with the daily business of football seen at the Camp Nou.

    Any future investment needs to go on developing an entirely new game model that can handle the differences across football, if this means SI skipping a year then that is what they should do as I can only see FM13 being just as frustrating as recent versions.
    Last edited by Barside; 25-01-2012 at 23:20.

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    I haven't played a lower league game in England for a few years now, but I do play lower league games in other countries.

    I think good players retiring because they can't find a club has been a problem for many years. On FM2006 I had a save game where I only managed New Zealand. I ran just the Australian league, as I wasn't doing any club management. Every year about 3/4 months after players contracts expired I'd have to add a manager at an Australian club and sign up my free agent internationals to stop them retiring. I'm guessing some of you may disagree with that method, but if I didn't do it I would have kept losing my players, and I didn't have too many good ones.

    I still see good players retiring like this, and I'm not sure SI have done much to rectify that over the last 5/6 years.

    Another observation is that when I had a great lower league save with Hammerfest in Norway on FM2007, higher division AI clubs regularly attempted to sign my players. They often succeeded as well because my chairman would go and accept the bid. I played as the same club on FM2010, and I don't really recall the AI bidding for my players like they did on FM2007. I also recall playing as Redditch on that game and regularly seeing my chairman sell off my players. I eventually resigned because I'd had enough of it! Thinking about it, I have to say instances of the AI bidding for my players in the lower leagues has decreased quite a bit from a few years ago.

    Regarding PA, I have a theory that the AI managers aren't aware enough of it. I used to think on FM2007 that the AI knew far too much about a player's PA. I could tell this because I'd have 2 players with similar looking attributes, but the AI would only ever bid for the one who my scouts said had the higher potential before I signed them. Perhaps SI have tried to make it harder for the AI to see PA, so they're just looking at the CA of lower league players, and more or less ignoring future potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AytchMan View Post
    I'll stick my two cents in here and note that I often play down in the boiler room that is NI2. There seems to be a very hard breakpoint in the willingness of clubs to spend even $2 for a player. Literally. Many times I have offered surplus players (who should be welcome at other clubs in the league as well as the non-league clubs) for $2 and been rejected across the board. Then, I offer the player for zero and five or six bids come out of the woodwork. The offering clubs will then hire my guy for six times what I was paying. This is made even stranger by the fact that these offering clubs are already paying enormous salaries to other players on their rosters. So, they clearly have the money. Overall, I find it very difficult to unload players with substantial transfer value (by the standards of NI2) unless I literally give them away. Then, of course, the fans hang me in effigy (a small town near the border).
    This is because semi-pro clubs never spend money on a player, even if they have cash in the bank. I have no idea why it's programmed that way, as it doesn't make any sense.

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    This is because semi-pro clubs never spend money on a player...

    I haven't found that to be true. I looked back over my transfers for the last five years and there are several in which I received cash from semi-pro clubs. Usually, though, the cash has been offered in direct acceptance of the asking price. There just seems to be this big disconnect between no money at all and a trivial sum.

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    From a lower league perspective in Belgium - I played a couple of seasons in a lower Belgium league with FC Dender and have now been in the top flight for two seasons. In all that time I have managed to sell 3 players and loan out 1 (not to an affiliate - my chariman can't find one apparently). I will accept that these aren't the greatest players alive - but would surely do a job elsewhere. Even if offered out for free - no takers. And their wages were about £300-£500 per week.

    This is based on me offering out players. That I can recall, I have only had 1 offer from a club in those four seasons. A 25 goal in a season striker offered for £30k - no interest.

    I've always preferred to work in lower leagues and build up - but in the early days the key to survival was getting dirt cheap players, making them successful and hopefully selling them at a profit to fund new facilities. Now I can't shift anyone and if I need to free up wage budget, I have to cancel contracts and take the hit. I'm getting by, but an enjoyable aspect of the game for lower league play has gone.

    I am enjoying FM12 to a point - but have to confess that this version seems to be less 'fun'. A key factor in the game to me is wheeling and dealing - I wouldn't want 50 clubs coming in for my 7k defender, but I think things have gone a bit too far the other way.

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    Have to agree swedishchef, I know this isn't lower league but im in my third save as Blackburn and every transfer window there have been 3/4 clubs interested in Samba and ive had one bid, which wasn't even worth my time of day. I think its poor AI to be honest, about the only player ive ever had serious interest in is HAmsik for Napoli, besides from that nothing ever happens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    There are certainly some very strange goings on with finances in FM12.

    I've seen clubs employing 30+ scouts (one low(ish) league club has over 40), there are a group of players in the English Championship on £90pw yet I see Blue Square North players on £1600pw, managers are getting tucked up by chairman with less than 10 managers in the entire global game earning more than £30k & a BSP club accepting £10k over 3 years for a player in January because his contract was expiring in the summer.

    Much like the ME the financial modelling is starting to show signs of its age & is struggling to cope with the extreme differences in simulating the finances of the elite clubs, high turnover but generally broke clubs & the fodder at the foot of the football hierarchy.

    I really think that FM has reached a peak of its current capabilities (iirc the core code is over 10 years old now) as it more or less applies the same principles to all clubs & leagues in the game yet it is obvious that other than using the same basic equipment the daily business of football at Ochilview Park has nothing in common with the daily business of football seen at the Camp Nou.

    Any future investment needs to go on developing an entirely new game model that can handle the differences across football, if this means SI skipping a year then that is what they should do as I can only see FM13 being just as frustrating as recent versions.
    I agree, but at the same time I can't see too much changing. PaulC has said in other threads that he hasn't decided if the new engine will appear in FM13 or not, and I think that sums up the way SI now operate. They got into this yearly cycle and - just as we see with PES and FIFA each year - it makes it very hard to make sweeping changes or start code from scratch (irrelevant of how much it is needed). Instead we get told about 800 new features in this version (I'd love to see that list, because I'm sorry to say I don't believe it), instead of looking at the underlying systems - reputation, CA/PA, finances. Instead, we have a situation where certain aspects of the game are 'good enough' to use year after year.

    How has FM sold over the years, out of interest? It always used to be a strong-seller in the CM days (1m+ I think) but I saw something in a thread suggesting the FM11 only sold around 700,000 copies? Is there a general downward trend?

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    I would happily wait two years for a new FM with wholesale changes to underlying systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sussex Hammer View Post
    I tried as Manager of West Ham to scout the Blue Square to find some hidden gems but without success which is such a shame. Back when football was football The Hammers signed Alan Devonshire from Southall for a pittance and he went on to be a great. In the 80's we signed Frank McAvennie from St. Mirren in Scotland who were quite low at the time and Mark Ward from lowly Oldham and they both made the step up effortlessly. However IRL I can't think really of the last time a Club did that and made a star out of a lower League player. I would love to find one or two from a Hampton and Waterlooville or a Maidenhead but have never got to do that. Is it because I am looking for the wrong things in a scout report or is the talent just not there?
    Fulham signed Chris Smalling from Maidstone Utd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperMeppen View Post
    How has FM sold over the years, out of interest? It always used to be a strong-seller in the CM days (1m+ I think) but I saw something in a thread suggesting the FM11 only sold around 700,000 copies? Is there a general downward trend?
    Actual numbers never seem to be released for the PC market but it is widely reported that FM12 produced record sales numbers.

    Agree with you on the 800 new features comment, I'd hazard a guess that a good number of those are minor tweaks to existing features with a lot of background stuff but 800 is a good headline number so I can't blame SI for using it from a marketing perspective.

    As for the annual cycle I understand the reasoning behind it, why change the business model when the current method generates profit? There would no doubt be concerns outside SI of repeating the mistakes of BSG when they skipped a year so it would be a very brave decision to step back, look at what the title has achieved & what it can achieve using the current source code then decide to rip it up & start afresh.
    Last edited by Barside; 26-01-2012 at 14:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    Agree with you on the 800 new features comment, I'd hazard a guess that a good number of those are minor tweaks to existing features with a lot of background stuff but 800 is a good headline number so I can't blame SI for using it from a marketing perspective.
    Yeah, for some irrational reason this annoys me - I suspect that many of these 'new' features are fixes (which doesn't make it new by any description) - so it's false advertising. But more than that, it's that the core game continues to creak and groan under the strain of code that is in need of an overhaul.

    As for the annual cycle I understand the reasoning behind it, why change the business model when the current method generates profit? There would no doubt be concerns outside SI of repeating the mistakes of BSG when they skipped a year so it would be a very brave decision to step back, look at what the title has achieved & what it can achieve using the current source code then decide to rip it up & start afresh.
    Of course, it always comes down to it working as an annual product. Of course, the problem is that whilst it is generating record sales (I wonder if that is record sales of the FM side of it, not compared to CM? Either way it's moot I guess) there is no real incentive to make significant change. Which is fair enough, but frustrating for those of us who wish to see some real change.

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    We're are wandering off-topic a little here but I seem to remember that there were a few years between the final CM2 release & the launch of CM3 with a similar gap between CM01/02 to CM4 & CM03/04 to FM2005, it can be done without risking the long term survival of the game.
    Last edited by Barside; 26-01-2012 at 14:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    We're are wandering off-topic a little here but I seem to remember that there were a few years between the final CM2 release & the launch of CM3 with a similar gap between CM01/02 to CM4 & CM03/04 to FM2005, it can be done without risking the long term survival of the game.
    That was all when SI were an independant company before Sega bought them, so I can't see it happening now sadly.

    Getting back OT, why do so many lower league players have yearly increase clauses and obscenely high appearance fees? That can't be right, surely? It cripples clubs all across the board and has an affect on a club's ability to pay, thus further stagnating the transfer market at the bottom. Are wages and clauses generated on the fly when the game starts for clubs below a certain division (and how is it determined - reputation again)?

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    reputation is the main issue, but there are a few decent players available (jamil adam, fergus bell to name 2) for free. the most interesting one regarding reputation was my east stirling save, got promotion and a small transfer budget of 58k, which is nice.... until you come to spend it and your reputation means you acctually still can only sign free transfers.
    as for lower league talent? go look at crewe, they have youth facilitys rated at something stupid like 14 (higher then most championship clubs).
    oh and i got a wonderkid from layton orient as blackpool from their youth, so it does happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scott MUFC View Post
    reputation is the main issue, but there are a few decent players available (jamil adam, fergus bell to name 2) for free. the most interesting one regarding reputation was my east stirling save, got promotion and a small transfer budget of 58k, which is nice.... until you come to spend it and your reputation means you acctually still can only sign free transfers.
    as for lower league talent? go look at crewe, they have youth facilitys rated at something stupid like 14 (higher then most championship clubs).
    oh and i got a wonderkid from layton orient as blackpool from their youth, so it does happen.
    All those buying tips only serve to increase the players advantage over the AI when managing in the lower league with the net result being an easier & for a good number of players a less enjoyable gaming experience.

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    It's not only that,it's also the teams of the lower leagues themselves that make no moves,especially since on most countries they end up being below balance by the end of the first year.

    For example,let's say I chose a swedish team of their second division and I have a player with really mediocre stats (aka,extremelly bad,mediocre for that level of football) who happens to carry the team to the trophy and promotion almost by himself.

    Next year that I'll be on the first division,that player just doesn't cut it anymore,so of course I got to get rid of him,but absolutely no team will want him, not even the ones that stayed on the second division. That doesn't make sense. A player that proved to dominate a division is not wanted by any team of that division? A little too picky aren't they?

    AI teams should be able to make mistakes as well due to performances instead of just CA and PA. Like getting someone who just had a good year only to find out that it's not exactly what they thought it would be. This rarely ever happens now.

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    I signed this right-back as a 17-year old from Crewe (though I let him stay until the end of the season) who were in non-league at the time, after he constantly achieved 8.0+ ratings and won Player of the Month 5 months on the trot. They were promoted largely thanks to his performances, after which he linked up with me. Checked Genie Scout once I had him and he has a PA of 185, can play at a similar level to Sergio Ramos:




    Chucked him straight in at the deep end and he has performed excellently and made the step up with no problems. Nobody apart from me was contesting for his signature, though after just four months of playing for me, Chelsea were sniffing around. In January, Man City and Liverpool both joined Chelsea in having major interest in him until I tied him down to a longer, more rewarding contract. They had never even heard of him a year ago, backing up the theory that the AI doesn't look at lower leagues.

    Went through non-league again mid-way through my current season season trawling for talent, and Kettering have this guy:




    They have a terrible squad apart from this guy, but thanks to him and him alone are in the play-off places. As you can see, he has been destroying the BSS/N for years, yet nobody has taken a punt on him. In real life League One and mid-table Championship sides would be clamouring for this guy given his record, but in FM it simply doesn't happen. I would sign him if he was a couple of years younger, though part of me is tempted too anyway so he doesn't rot in non-league for the rest of his career.

    As you can see, I have risen from non-league to the Premier League and I have to concur with everything the OP has said. It's just too easy and majorly flawed in terms of AI. My current captain (a CB regen) was bought for £750k after I got promoted to League One and MK Dons were relegated to the BSP. I have no idea what his CA was when I bought him but it was excellent for that level and he was clearly a good prospect, but again I was the only club in for him. He has a PA of 165 and has been capped for Scotland, making his debut at 21. Surely the bigger clubs, or at least a mediocre Premier League side like West Brom or Wigan would be looking for bargains like this? I am thoroughly enjoying this save, my first LLM one, but there are a lot of flaws with it for sure.
    Last edited by Robsy1990; 27-01-2012 at 01:38.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    We're are wandering off-topic a little here but I seem to remember that there were a few years between the final CM2 release & the launch of CM3 with a similar gap between CM01/02 to CM4 & CM03/04 to FM2005, it can be done without risking the long term survival of the game.
    Not one gap

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ackter View Post
    Not the 2 years between titles that I remember but there were gaps longer than 12 months the longest being the CM'93 to CM2 at over 2 years if you discount the data update & from there it's 18 months when changing to an entirely new game.

    I was however mistaken about the CM4 to FM2005 time frame, that was the start of the nailed on yearly release in November.
    Last edited by Barside; 27-01-2012 at 09:51.

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    You can't discount the data updates as they were a source of income.

    A few of the titles were also delayed, but there's no way would that have been the original intended release frame.

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    I only discount the chargeable data update as it was not a new title, if FM13 turned out to be as equally flawed in its ability to accurately simulate the different levels of football represented in the game could you imagine SI & Sega agreeing to release a data only update called FM season 13/14 in November 2013 & spending 2 years developing a whole new game?

    I don't but & I'm thinking as I type it could be another angle to ensure more people buy a legitimate copy of FM13, announce that there will be a 2 year development gap for the next new game but to keep the FM addict going for that time they will release a 2013/14 season update in September as DLC for say £12.99, no original copy no DLC.

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    Clearly they could survive a gap year, releasing only a data update (+ some bug fixes) in the mean time. It is lost revenue though and the company heads won't be having it. Especially when the game sells as well as it does as a yearly release.

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    There will be a short term drop in revenue but I'd contend that in the medium term it would balance & a longer dedicated dev period for an entirely new game will ensure long term releases.

    I wonder how many people did not purchase the latest FM because they were happy with the last offering? I know that a good number of FM playing friends & acquaintances are still playing FM10 or FM11 because they didn't see enough advances to justify ending their current games & buying the latest copy.

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    It will still sell as well as the last one (at least) and that's the bottom line (for them). From a business point of view you can't justify a skipped year at this point. Which is sad, but it is what it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    There will be a short term drop in revenue but I'd contend that in the medium term it would balance & a longer dedicated dev period for an entirely new game will ensure long term releases.

    I wonder how many people did not purchase the latest FM because they were happy with the last offering? I know that a good number of FM playing friends & acquaintances are still playing FM10 or FM11 because they didn't see enough advances to justify ending their current games & buying the latest copy.
    How many people buy FM just to play as a big team for a few seasons (i.e. finishing before the newgens take over), thus never really encountering a lot of the problems that blight both the lower league, journeyman and long-term saves? A fair few I imagine - and they'll buy the game year on year for the new squads, just like those who buy FIFA each year. Sadly I think that those people far, far outnumber those of us who do wish for the game to get a revamp/code started from scratch.

    And as mentioned above, Sega's moneymen don't care about the game being any good or losing long-time fans unless it happens in big numbers - and unless a real, credible competitor comes up with something, I don't see it happening.

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    Sega do care, seeing as this and Total War are the only games Sega appear to be making these days

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    I'm sure they care, they just don't care enough to sacrifice a chunk of their yearly income when the sales numbers with their current release schedule are as good as ever. They are a business after all and their decisions will be made with a view to maximizing the revenue.

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    I reckon losing a chunk of the FM sales would scare the hell out of the moneymen at Sega. Where else is that money going to come from? Crazy Taxi on PSN?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ackter View Post
    Sega do care, seeing as this and Total War are the only games Sega appear to be making these days
    "Sega" on some level may care lower down the chain, but as I say, the moneymen don't. And that's fair enough, because they have the power to veto games so they need to be kept happy - but it is at the cost of following the FIFA/PES model - evolution based on old code rather than revolution (the exception being when FIFA put another team on one release so the core team could start a new engine from scratch for the following year, IIRC). SI I'm sure don't have the staff numbers to allow a core team to do the same whilst a 'B' team gets something on the shelves for this year. I actually think Barside's idea of a data update this year (with perhaps some 'easy win' changes here and there) would probably still do ok, then we have something fresh for FM13. It won't happen though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Apos View Post
    It's not only that,it's also the teams of the lower leagues themselves that make no moves,especially since on most countries they end up being below balance by the end of the first year.

    For example,let's say I chose a swedish team of their second division and I have a player with really mediocre stats (aka,extremelly bad,mediocre for that level of football) who happens to carry the team to the trophy and promotion almost by himself.

    Next year that I'll be on the first division,that player just doesn't cut it anymore,so of course I got to get rid of him,but absolutely no team will want him, not even the ones that stayed on the second division. That doesn't make sense. A player that proved to dominate a division is not wanted by any team of that division? A little too picky aren't they?

    AI teams should be able to make mistakes as well due to performances instead of just CA and PA. Like getting someone who just had a good year only to find out that it's not exactly what they thought it would be. This rarely ever happens now.
    This is very true.

    I am playing in Russia and have just survived my first season in the top flight after promotion. Whenever I try to get rid of a player who is now surplus because he's been replaced by better players, I never get an offer, even when I offer them out for free.

    One of these players was brilliant in the 1st Division, scoring 13 goals, and getting the same amount of assists as a wide inside forward one season. He then made an important contribution to my promotion. Last season he didn't play much, so I decided to sell to raise a bit of money for my own new signings, but the 1st Division clubs refuse to bid for a proven good player at that level who is in his peak years, and available for nothing!

    A player I had last season I had to mutually terminate as I couldn't sell and he was becoming disruptive. I also have another player who I need to get rid of who the AI won't bid for. Again he'd be a good player for 1st Division clubs, and still has unfulfilled potential, and the time to improve.

    These players aren't on massive wages either. Undoubtedly I'll end up releasing them, and then they'll retire. I really think the game was much better in this area in previous versions.

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    I don't think Sega Sammy care as much for their consumer business compared with its other businesses... It provides much lower returns than its other businesses.

    http://www.segasammy.co.jp/english/i...nce/index.html

    Look at the operating income (loss) section. FM falls under the consumer business, which makes way less profit than the pachinko and arcade businesses - despite the fact that its sales are much higher than the arcade business.

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    I don't disagree that the AI is flawed, but it is possible to produce good newgens at that level. In my save with Guiseley, in 2012 England only produced 2 Newgens with PA over 160. The top one had Nigerian second nationality, was on Spurs youth team and had a PA of 175ish. The other one one the other hand surprised me. It was a 15 year old with a PA of 165ish who was contracted to Bromley! I have 5 scouts scouting the UK and Ireland, and they never saw this guy, so I don't think it's all that unrealistic that big clubs haven't come in for him yet (of course the probably won't come in for him even if he does start performing).

    In FM 11 I did have West Ham and Napoli steal my star striker in the BSP (He was out of contract and wouldn't resign), but I agree it's something that doesn't happen often enough.

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    It's more the stand-out performers than the prospects. If a player consistently scores 20 goals in non-league football, it's very likely he'll earn a move to or at least a trial with a league club. That very seldom happens in the game.

    In real life, we (Forest Green) have a former Watford youth centre-half by the name of Eddie Oshodi, who is miles above BSP level. Now I know we won't hold onto him after this season, as he has used non-league football to get his career back on track after perhaps not being good enough for Watford, or perhaps he just needed that first team football to develop. Either way we're a stepping stone. If that was FM he'd probably spend his career at that level.
    Last edited by CityAndColour; 29-01-2012 at 11:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    There are certainly some very strange goings on with finances in FM12.

    I've seen clubs employing 30+ scouts (one low(ish) league club has over 40), there are a group of players in the English Championship on £90pw yet I see Blue Square North players on £1600pw, managers are getting tucked up by chairman with less than 10 managers in the entire global game earning more than £30k & a BSP club accepting £10k over 3 years for a player in January because his contract was expiring in the summer.

    Much like the ME the financial modelling is starting to show signs of its age & is struggling to cope with the extreme differences in simulating the finances of the elite clubs, high turnover but generally broke clubs & the fodder at the foot of the football hierarchy.

    I really think that FM has reached a peak of its current capabilities (iirc the core code is over 10 years old now) as it more or less applies the same principles to all clubs & leagues in the game yet it is obvious that other than using the same basic equipment the daily business of football at Ochilview Park has nothing in common with the daily business of football seen at the Camp Nou.

    Any future investment needs to go on developing an entirely new game model that can handle the differences across football, if this means SI skipping a year then that is what they should do as I can only see FM13 being just as frustrating as recent versions.
    +1

    It seams that AI doesn't calculate the expanse of the whole transfer (transfer fee + player wages & bonuses + agent fees) when deciding whether to bid for certain transfer target or not. AI analyses first two elements (transfer fee + player wages & bonuses) separately and ignores agent fee altogether at this stage. This leads to absurd situation where AI will chose player that costs 10M in transfer fee + 3M in wages (over 3 years of contract) over a player that costs 1M in transfer fee + 6M in wages (over 3 years of contract). The fact that agent fee is directly related to transfer fee (and agent attributes which AI ignores as well) makes it even worse.

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    it seems to me the AI are finding talent elsewhere
    wigan just bought a fantasitc newgen from bulgaria, my scouts found nothing in bulgaria (found loads in turkey though), and man city constantly seem to empty france of decent newgens on any save.
    to makes things more interesting, i had a brief look at SD3 players in first team, checked the available newgens, i found a player that has the potential to play in the premier league (granted not top of the league but still said premier league), seems to be noone looking lower then SPL in scotland.
    i laughed when west ham tried to buy shaqiri (wtf... newly promted west ham buying him?) and didn't have the funds to complete the transfer

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    Glad to see plenty of support on this. Shame no-one from SI has contributed. In the good old days when I was a regular here, they were great at contributing to these conversations.

    I also noticed a few more examples in the last few days of non-league talent moving up for fees (e.g. Appiah and Prior that I mentioned in the OP).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaries Fan View Post
    I don't disagree that the AI is flawed, but it is possible to produce good newgens at that level. In my save with Guiseley, in 2012 England only produced 2 Newgens with PA over 160. The top one had Nigerian second nationality, was on Spurs youth team and had a PA of 175ish. The other one one the other hand surprised me. It was a 15 year old with a PA of 165ish who was contracted to Bromley! I have 5 scouts scouting the UK and Ireland, and they never saw this guy, so I don't think it's all that unrealistic that big clubs haven't come in for him yet (of course the probably won't come in for him even if he does start performing).

    In FM 11 I did have West Ham and Napoli steal my star striker in the BSP (He was out of contract and wouldn't resign), but I agree it's something that doesn't happen often enough.
    But that's the point. Nobody is saying there's no talent comes through in the lower leagues, the problem is the clubs just don't look at players at that level. In testing FM11 I ran a test with a bunch of high PA youths at non-league clubs. Every time I re-ran the test it was the same story, they barely moved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperMeppen View Post
    That was all when SI were an independant company before Sega bought them, so I can't see it happening now sadly.

    Getting back OT, why do so many lower league players have yearly increase clauses and obscenely high appearance fees? That can't be right, surely? It cripples clubs all across the board and has an affect on a club's ability to pay, thus further stagnating the transfer market at the bottom. Are wages and clauses generated on the fly when the game starts for clubs below a certain division (and how is it determined - reputation again)?
    Contracts are definitely part of the problem. Default yearly rises for anyone under 24, even if they've been given the highest wage at the club. Long contracts. Wage rises after a number of games. Promotion rises but no relegation drops. High appearance fees allied to high wages.

    I've seen a few lower league player contracts. None look anything like SI ones. It's common, as another poster said, to see a low basic wage with higher appearance and goal bonuses. You also tend not to see percentage rises, with there instead being specified wages for each level. There's often a clause that allows for a player's release if the club is relegated below a certain level. I've never seen an annual increase on anything other than a low-paid first year pro.

    Again, humans manage those clubs and we negotiate hard and get better contracts. The AI just greenlights stupid deals. It *must* improve, or FM12 is my last ever FM. I'm just too tired of this rubbish.

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    Have you logged those contract issues as a bug, Dave? I would, personally.

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    Good post Dave, I concur with your assessment here, and wanted to post not only to keep it alive a bit longer, but also to suggest that bigger teams scouring downward through the leagues for talents seemed more prevalent in earlier version. I've been on CM since CM4, and it seems to me (anecdotal as it is) that talented youngsters on my lower league teams always seems to generate interest in bids. I am not sure when the drop-off happened. Maybe Fm09 or 10? At any rate, it does seem far less likely to get your promising young talent poached or purchased by bigger teams.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Hook View Post
    Good post Dave, I concur with your assessment here, and wanted to post not only to keep it alive a bit longer, but also to suggest that bigger teams scouring downward through the leagues for talents seemed more prevalent in earlier version. I've been on CM since CM4, and it seems to me (anecdotal as it is) that talented youngsters on my lower league teams always seems to generate interest in bids. I am not sure when the drop-off happened. Maybe Fm09 or 10? At any rate, it does seem far less likely to get your promising young talent poached or purchased by bigger teams.
    I can tell you exactly when it happened (well, sort of). It was when the training model changed, around FM09 I think?
    When that happened, they changed the development model, and had to change things about scouting too. That's when they wrecked it. Before, almost every player seemed to reach a high percentage of their PA. They went from one extreme to the other, and a lot of stuff got broken.

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    That seems about right to me as I recall past versions. I hope they will take a look at it at the least and see what might be done to bring it back up to par.

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    I'm doing an LLM save and one of the things i have noticed is that my star players who are performing well, have good stats have never recieved a bid, plenty of interest and media talk, but never a bid. I have been at 3 clubs over 4 years and have yet to be recieve an offer for a player who i have not offered to clubs. So no offers for transfer listed players, or my stars players, or my 17 year old regen who is rated as being a good premier division midefielder in the future my ass. manager. This has been raised by SI in the bugs forum as a possible issue:

    http://community.sigames.com/showthr...r-best-players

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave C View Post
    I can tell you exactly when it happened (well, sort of). It was when the training model changed, around FM09 I think?
    When that happened, they changed the development model, and had to change things about scouting too. That's when they wrecked it. Before, almost every player seemed to reach a high percentage of their PA. They went from one extreme to the other, and a lot of stuff got broken.
    "One extreme to the other". That's the model SI operate on, it seems. Every time someone raises a problem and they decide to "fix" it, we just get a complete opposite extreme of the problem. It's easily noticeable if you look back a few years on all the big changes they made.

    Btw. in older versions, like CM 01/02, players would reach their potential by the age of 20 or 21, so the game was full of young world beaters after a few seasons in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB1979 View Post
    I have been at 3 clubs over 4 years and have yet to be recieve an offer for a player who i have not offered to clubs.
    Into my fourth season now, and I think I've received one or two bids for players I didn't offer, and those were co-ownership offers for U20s. I have players who are now starting (and winning) in Serie A whom I signed in the fourth tier of Italian football. No one, at any stage, seemed to recognize their worth except me. Even in FM11, which was dogged by the same problems described in this thread, I would have had several of them snatched from me by now. Kinda silly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shake Appeal View Post
    Into my fourth season now, and I think I've received one or two bids for players I didn't offer, and those were co-ownership offers for U20s. I have players who are now starting (and winning) in Serie A whom I signed in the fourth tier of Italian football. No one, at any stage, seemed to recognize their worth except me. Even in FM11, which was dogged by the same problems described in this thread, I would have had several of them snatched from me by now. Kinda silly.
    What are the reputations of the players now, given that they have won titles for you? Are they full internationals? Does anybody know how quickly player reputation increases (and is it ever enough to allow somebody to overcome a really low starting rep?)

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    Bumping this as the £1m move of Jamie Vardy from Fleetwood to Leicester just emphasises how bad Football Manager really is in this area.

    Real life: A non-league player can get a £1m move to The Championship
    FM: Same player will bum around non-league, playing well, maybe nabbing a free transfer to an L2 side.


    Fix it. No excuses. It needs fixing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    I think what ruined Reading was the Premier League TV money bug, I assume that every area of the game assumed they would receive the full TV income so overheads increased accordingly & the AI was unable to cope with the fact they do not receive the right income due to the daft database error.
    What error is that? You don't get parachute payments when relegated?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sussex Hammer View Post
    I tried as Manager of West Ham to scout the Blue Square to find some hidden gems but without success which is such a shame. Back when football was football The Hammers signed Alan Devonshire from Southall for a pittance and he went on to be a great. In the 80's we signed Frank McAvennie from St. Mirren in Scotland who were quite low at the time and Mark Ward from lowly Oldham and they both made the step up effortlessly. However IRL I can't think really of the last time a Club did that and made a star out of a lower League player. I would love to find one or two from a Hampton and Waterlooville or a Maidenhead but have never got to do that. Is it because I am looking for the wrong things in a scout report or is the talent just not there?
    Tbh I believe that it' no coincidence that we don't see these signings today anymore, or at least not as regularly anymore.
    Imho this is due to the big clubs snatching a lot of young prospects at a very young age. Back in the days, this wasn't the case so much. Consequently some big talents went on to continue their development at small clubs and were picked by the big ones only at a later age.
    Now the big clubs scout the country so thoroughly that they are less likely to miss a gem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayahr View Post
    What error is that? You don't get parachute payments when relegated?
    On the default database they & a few other clubs have individual TV deals which result in them not getting the Premier League TV money, the AI thinks they do so spends accordingly with the end result being an inevitable financial collapse.

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    ouch.

    101010

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    All you people who rant take notice! This is the correct way to express your discord with the game. Great points Dave, couldn't agree more on everything.

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    This is completely correct and I agree 100% with OP. However I would like to add a point. As a Norwich supporter I have seen a remarkable rise in our club.

    However much of this is due to 'late bloomers' or lower league gems who do not realise their potential unless given a chance. The likes of Marc Tierney, Russell Martin, David Fox, Elliot Bennett, Andrew Crofts, Steve Morison and of course John Ruddy and Sir Grant Holt were just not given a chance in the game three years ago.

    Now, I'm not saying that SI can predict the future in terms of PA but being so one dimensional in not allowing great improvement after the age of 24 or making those in lower leagues at that age stagnate due to reputation needs improvement. A lot of the time with these players the potential is there but they are not given a chance or played in the correct manner. I think the motivating and player improvement side of the game needs a big change. Even older players can perform well at a high level like Aaron Wilbraham at the end of this season when in FM he would have been released or sold at a reduced fee in the first window.

    This does not mean I think that all players should have the ability to be world beaters when given a run in the team. It has to be a mixture of excellent man management to instill a work ethic or ambition, or a players personality being determined to get back to the top, good coaches and of course underlying talent. I have no idea how this can be implemented into the game but it is something I believe the game should strive for in the near future. There needs to be more player-manager interaction or even player-coach interaction which can be manipulated(i.e. not just training reports or the current team meeting set up which does not give enough options to be effective.) It would give a massive boost to the realism of the game and balance out the micro-tactical approach with a different perhaps Harry Redknapp approach. Then managers can manage differently according to preference of style and other managers in game can do this too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by galatasaturk View Post
    However much of this is due to 'late bloomers' or lower league gems who do not realise their potential unless given a chance. The likes of Marc Tierney, Russell Martin, David Fox, Elliot Bennett, Andrew Crofts, Steve Morison and of course John Ruddy and Sir Grant Holt were just not given a chance in the game three years ago.

    Now, I'm not saying that SI can predict the future in terms of PA but being so one dimensional in not allowing great improvement after the age of 24 or making those in lower leagues at that age stagnate due to reputation needs improvement. A lot of the time with these players the potential is there but they are not given a chance or played in the correct manner. I think the motivating and player improvement side of the game needs a big change. Even older players can perform well at a high level like Aaron Wilbraham at the end of this season when in FM he would have been released or sold at a reduced fee in the first window.

    Yes. Nothing wrong with PA, but there needs to be a little more variance in the development model so players can come through at different rates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave C View Post
    Yes. Nothing wrong with PA, but there needs to be a little more variance in the development model so players can come through at different rates.
    But that turns "who develops well" into a pure lottery, when in reality it's a certain set of characteristics (i.e. Holt is a rugged striker who works hard and is a defender's nightmare) and a certain set of circumstances (managers at higher leagues gradually give him chances) coming together, which doesn't make it a pure random number generator. Certainly not one that can be defined at the start of someone's career.

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    No certainly not, it needs a number of factors to come together. Just like real life.

    So perhaps, PA could be given for talent. This is the base layer but can be boosted or reduced by good training performances and mentality. I know the current system of PA means it is a measure of talent that can be achieved if a number of factors come together BUT it does not allow a previous PA to be reviewed in light of these factors throughout a players career.

    Now I'm off to grieve for the potential loss of Grant Holt...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave C View Post
    Yes. Nothing wrong with PA, but there needs to be a little more variance in the development model so players can come through at different rates.
    Agreed, the PA number as it is should remain but it needs to be hidden from everyone in the game.

    The assessment of scouts, coaches & other managers should be based on CA, form, player mentality & in the case of the member of staff, experience. Using these areas they can then judge what they think the player's PA is & in theory this will allow for more mistakes in terms of buying & selling/releasing players plus players coming up through the divisions if their form & CA warrants it.

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    This was really well written and I agree with OP

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    First off, I have to say I was expecting nothing like what we have got in the OP and I congratulate you for a well thought out post.

    I do agree with the OP, but right now i'm enjoying the fact that nobody is coming near my Chester players, despite one of them having the potential to be a Premier League player.

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    PA, along with Reputation, is the nemesis here, as in pretty much every other perfectible area of FM...

    Lower leagues or Top Divisions it's always about AI failing to realize a 120/125 striker with adequate key attributes and solid work ethic is a better choice than the 100/155 forward with single-digits workrate, composure and determination.

    And if that's just a sligth annoyance for an EPL club (you won't be able to get good money for some decent backups who should and could be "wanted" by mid-table clubs or Championship sides) it affects lower leagues and smaller nations in a bigger way.

    Some of your key players, who are ok but nothing spectacular for higher divisions, will think they have outgrown your club and will refuse to sign a new contract (or will ask for wages you can't offer) you'll be forced to let them go for free because no better clubs will want to make an offer for them (Club reputation > Player PA/Rep) and no same-division clubs will offer either (Club rep < Player Rep) so he'll just be unemployed until his reputation drops and he can start over in some average club, no better than the one he left.

    This is a global problem, as it affect every league, from EPL to Finnish 3rd tier, but it's a major issue with human managers because we often end up losing BOTH the player and the money from the transfer.
    And in lower leagues losing a 500k transfer fee is a big deal.

    So I do think PA should NEVER be factored in AI scouting and signing players. There's no actual reason for, say, Tottenham, to spend 4M on a 19yo kid with passable attributes and with just a handful of unremarkable appearences at Genk. Much less when they're ignoring a guy who's been scoring for fun in Championship

    PA should exist just to provinde a "best case scenario" and a "glass ceiling" of sorts, but that should be it. Also, I'd completely scrap fixed PA in favour of negative PA [more variety in different saves] for Under21 players.

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    Just like to add that I agree with everything in this thread, well written OP. AI is the part I want to see revised the most!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave C View Post

    Scouting

    The first is, bigger clubs in FM don't scout down the leagues.
    I haven't read the whole post as I don't have time to right now, but I think this is absolute rubbish. In my current save, my scout discovered an unattached striker aged 16. He was good enough to go straight into my Conference Premier first team. He played well, scoring 20 odd goals in his first season and gathered the attention from scouts and managers of over a dozen Premier League and Championship clubs.
    Manchester United came sniffing at the start of the next season and I agreed a deal for him to move to Old Trafford at the end of the second season which cleared my club's debts and left enough to improve the training and youth facilities. 45 goals and a season later he moved and having spend a his first season at Manchester United out on loan to Everton, now he is England's record goal scorer and shortlisted for the World Player of the Year.

    His CA and PA must have been high for him to do that.

    I've also sold other players of mine to teams higher up the league structure and to teams in the top two Scottish divisions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobby_McDonald View Post
    I haven't read the whole post as I don't have time to right now, but I think this is absolute rubbish.
    Next time you'd better read the whole post/thread before saying it's "rubbish" because you completely missed the point.

    Your example is the ONLY case when AI makes a move for players in lower leagues, and that requires VERY HIGH PA (and possible CA too).
    That's the exception, not the rule.

    AI scouts will ignore players with adequate attributes/good stats if the CA/PA doesn't meet the "minimum requirement" for their division/club, no matter how great the players are performing.

    You can have a 120CA/125PA striker winning the Championship Topscorer for five straight years and nobody will care, but rest assured they'll make plenty of offers for a mediocre 100CA/160PA even if he has the goalscoring skills of Heskey and the mental stability of Balotelli.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barside View Post
    I think what ruined Reading was the Premier League TV money bug, I assume that every area of the game assumed they would receive the full TV income so overheads increased accordingly & the AI was unable to cope with the fact they do not receive the right income due to the daft database error.

    Preston & Palace have no such excuse, I'm also keeping a keen eye on QPR who are still paying Tarabt £38,000 per week to sit on the bench in league 1, 2 starts & 4 sub appearances after 21 games is madness. I'm guess that the reason a club has not activated his modest release fee will no doubt be that he wants £50,000 a week.
    That's not even an issue of scouting, or the financial model being broken. There's no way IRL a player of Tarabt's quality would stick with his club through relegation to two levels below. Maybe in rare cases where a player absolutely loves his club, like Le Tessier at Southampton, you would see it but it would be so rare that it'd almost be a black swan event.

    IRL of course, you have very good players at mid-table Premiership clubs who say they want to move for Champions League football. The game should reflect not just on the reputation of the club and player, but also the circumstances he finds himself in. I just don't see how a player would stick with club from relegation from the Premiership to League 1, no matter how much money they threw at him.

    In my current save (in which I've just been promoted to a professional league and we've made the change to full-time setup), I have a backup AMR who rarely sees first team action. He's basically my 4th option at that position. In his player info screen it even has the message "feels his chance at a professional career is over." He has one year left on his contract, so I offer him on loan as a way to get some first team action and maybe land himself a deal somewhere else (I'm a softy that way ). Literally about 25 semi-pro clubs in levels below me make offers to take him on loan for the season ... and he rejects every one of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobby_McDonald View Post
    I haven't read the whole post as I don't have time to right now, but I think this is absolute rubbish.
    Well, that was a bit silly of you, wasn't it.

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    I stand by what I said, certainly in terms of my players as I have just checked my transfer history for the past ten seasons, which I have spent in Conference Premier, League Two and League One.
    Seven players were sold to teams in the top two divisions in England.
    Three players were sold to teams in the top two divisions in Scotland.
    One player was sold to a team in the Northern Irish Premier League (while in Conference Premier).
    One African player was sold to a second tier team in Spain.

    I have now read all of the original post.
    I do think the statement where bigger clubs don't scout down the leagues is rubbish. Why would I have sold twelve players in ten seasons to bigger clubs than me?

    A couple of things I should add though...
    This is taken from the 2020/1 season onwards and all the players in question are regens. A couple are players who came through my youth system, the rest I have signed after being scouted.
    This save is on FM2011.
    All of the twelve transfers involved fees of various amounts, with the record one for the now England star, which came to close to £3,000,000 after all clauses.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nobby_McDonald View Post
    I stand by what I said, certainly in terms of my players as I have just checked my transfer history for the past ten seasons, which I have spent in Conference Premier, League Two and League One.
    Seven players were sold to teams in the top two divisions in England.
    Three players were sold to teams in the top two divisions in Scotland.
    One player was sold to a team in the Northern Irish Premier League (while in Conference Premier).
    One African player was sold to a second tier team in Spain.

    I have now read all of the original post.
    I do think the statement where bigger clubs don't scout down the leagues is rubbish. Why would I have sold twelve players in ten seasons to bigger clubs than me?

    A couple of things I should add though...
    This is taken from the 2020/1 season onwards and all the players in question are regens. A couple are players who came through my youth system, the rest I have signed after being scouted.
    This save is on FM2011.
    All of the twelve transfers involved fees of various amounts, with the record one for the now England star, which came to close to £3,000,000 after all clauses.
    I believe that unless stated otherwise, you'll have to assume that whatever "FM" is discussed in a thread is the newest version, with the newest patch. I could say that I won everything with only lower division players in CM94, so that the OP is rubbish, but that wouldn't make much sense would it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BiggusD View Post
    I believe that unless stated otherwise, you'll have to assume that whatever "FM" is discussed in a thread is the newest version, with the newest patch. I could say that I won everything with only lower division players in CM94, so that the OP is rubbish, but that wouldn't make much sense would it?
    Yes except that nothing is changed from Fm11 to 12 in this regard. I happen to agree with Dave on this one, however. While it is not unheard of for clubs to buy players from down the leagues, it is not common, and once the players hit 23 or 24 big clubs generally lose all interest.

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