Im a Chelsea fan and always play as Chelsea... right from the very first Championship Manager. I've had games in the past with other teams - but not for ages - so I decided to fulfill an ambition which I'd always been too afraid to go after... to manage my local team Northampton Town....! I was always too afraid to try in case I failed and got sacked.
Anyway - season one I finished 9th in League 2... brought in some good players, sorted out the backroom, kept a tight control on wages and got rid of some dead wood.
Season 2 pre-season I signed some decent young players from Scotland and although I was knocked out of the cups early on I stormed the league... finishing 15 points clear of 2nd place. I awaited League one... pondering what my new wage budget would be (I didn't expect a transfer budget). Sadly my chairman has decided to keep the wage budget the same... with zero transfer funds... and yet many of my players have had a hike in wages due to promotion.
This leaves me unable to sign any players, my transfer funds at zero, my wage budget at -£4k per week (total wage budget is £19k pw), and some of my best players with contract up at the end of the season and me unable to get them to sign a new contract due to lack of funds.
Once again I've packed my pre-season with big friendlies at home to get revenue, and I'm desperately trying to offload my Faroe Islands international who rarely plays for £150k (his wages are £500 a week and he's valued at £160k).
This tends to happen with the jump from league 2 to 1 and you always seem to get offered the same budgets unless your a swindon or a rotherham. Too late now but ideally you want not too many average players on massive promotion wage rises. The jump in player quality isn't that huge though so you should be able to manage if you won the league by 15 points.
The thing is your budget has gone up, just all the contracts with promotion clauses have taken up the extra money, only hope is to move on no hopers and i would also look at 1 year deals, especially for players just to make up your squad, its quite hard to sell players for any money in the lower leagues so your best bet is free transfers both in and out of your club.
I got promoted from the BSN to the BSP and had my budget cut. I'm allowed to spend 8k a week on wages which is hard with a full time club as most players won't budge below 500 quid a week. I have had to sign a few youth players along with a load of loanee's. Think that only 5 of my squad are over 21 as well and after my 1st choice eleven I have little in the way of quality to come into the side. Top of the table at the half way stage but I am having to overplay my better players and think that will cost me going into the 2nd half of the season.
My advice would be maybe sell a couple of players. You can loan 4 players for the season so get what you can from there as they won't cost you anything. You can also loan a good number of players on 3 month loans to fill gaps. Just make sure the better players you get are given the full season deals.
On my Basingstoke save I was extremely meticulous with contracts in the lower leagues. Forward-planning is absolutely essential when determining contracting lengths, otherwise you will find yourself in the OP's situation. Consider the clubs overall finances, prospects of promotion, and individual player demands.
Take my first season. I basically wiped out the entire squad, leaving only two defenders and a midfielder from the previous regime, straight away, and brought in about 20 new players on loans and contracts. Some of these players I had managed to get were clearly above my level and would be asset for years to come, so I really focussed on getting a long-term, full-time contract. This way, when I gained promotion, I would not have to worry about
a) having to offer them a full-time contract due to the club going pro
b) not having to worry about expiring contracts, and having to pay an extortionate amount in increased wages for contract renewals
My top-scorer in the BSS, BSP and League Two was on £400 a week throughout that time didn't get a contract renewal until League One, where he got £1,000 a week. He couldn't cut it there so sold him for £150k in the January of that season. Consider he was a free transfer, do a little bit of a maths and that's excellent business in anyone's book.
You need to anticipate how well you think your club will do, and how long a player will be useful for. My right-back in the BSS was Championship standard, so tied him down to a three year full time contract. This way I would not have to worry about his contract until at least League One, as I was confident of successive promotions. With other players who weren't such coups for the club, I signed them to two-year contracts - I never signed anyone to a one-year contract. If they played well, I would get another season (and potentially another promotion, which means a potential wage budget increase) before having to worry about their contract. If they weren't good enough, I could release them after a year for little compensation, or even sell them to another club for a small fee.
I used this model in my climb up the leagues, and is the only save I have had so far where I am consistently making money on a monthly basis. It's a bit of hard work and time consuming having to plan two or three years in advance, but saves so much money in renewed contracts, and avoids situations where you don't get a budget increase and can't afford to offer your best players new contracts. Also:
a) Never give promotion/yearly wage rises. Ever. It's not worth it and will make the club just haemorrhage money every season.
b) Never give the match highest earner claus to anybody. Again, not worth it, and once you give it to one player loads of players will want it.
I've never given anyone in my FM12 save any of the above three clauses, and I'm now the richest club in England and 3rd richest in the world.
Thanks for the replies everyone - much appreciated!
The reason I support Chelsea is because my family support them and I was taken to matches as a kid. I was only 1 of 2 Chelsea supporters in the school back in those days (late 80s / early 90s). I understand what people are saying though... it's always best to support your local club.
With my Northampton game I managed to chat to my players and ask them to reconsider their wage demands as the club was in trouble. This meant they didn't want a wage rise. I also offloaded 4 or 5 sub / reserve players which allowed me to match the wages my best players were on and so they signed new contracts. I got some youth players in too - on £50 - £200 per week contracts. I had a topsy-turvy season - but finished with 5 wins out of the last 6 games and finished 13th... a real result! Got in plenty of loanees too.
This year my budget is £24k per week... fantastic! And I offloaded some high earners... again getting some good players from Scotland and elsewhere on smaller wages. The board want a top half finish.
I was also able to bring in 2 more coaches... so my coaching set up is looking really healthy.
I'm really enjoying this game... lots of satisfaction when getting an unexpected win or even picking up a point away to a much bigger club.