I just got this game and am enjoying it so far. Enjoying as far as I can, that is, because I keep losing.
I'm playing Port Vale in the Npower2 league. Not much is expected of my team except to end the season mid-table.
The problem is I keep losing. My transfer budget is 0, so I am having to make-do with my existing squad. Team morale is very poor and there seems to be nothing I can do to raise it - neither team talks nor individual talks.
I've lost 5 league games in a row, yet as far as I can see, I'm doing the right things: playing my best first team where possible, giving team talks, giving subs a chance, doing individualised training, working hard on team training, focussing on closing down/marking/tackling the opponent's danger men, sticking with one or two formations so as to become familiar, creating a playmaker and a target man, setting who takes free kicks, penalities and corners, setting the team philosophy and so on.
But my team hardly makes any chances, misses most of those it makes and tends to fare worse in the possession stats.
I didn't expect this game to be easy, but nor did I expect the human player to do so badly - I'm bottom of the table.
I've hardly delved into the financial or transfer aspects of the game because I've started out the season with a transfer budget of zero.
Does anyone have any basic advice on how to get more successful at this game? Thanks!
Try and get some free transfers. There are some good players out there just assign your scouts to UK and Ireland and see what comes up. In lower leagues I always start by releasing my reserves and youth team to free up some wage budget and any low earning first teamers usually get released too. It becomes a little harder with players on bigger wages as it may be too costly to terminate contracts. Hope this helps.
I've had saves starting in the Blue Square North with two different clubs and worked my way up to Premiership level. I literally didn't spend a penny in the transfer market until I got to the Championship. Free transfers will more than do the job for you. Get rid of the players who are practically useless, but make sure not to cripple your squad as you never know when an injury crisis may rear it's ugly head. Scout UK and Ireland like madhatter said and be sure to listen when your ass.manager or whoever suggests players to sign. Be on the lookout for clubs releasing youth and older players who are no longer needed. When offering contracts, you can often negotiate their initial wage budget down to something much more manageable. It varies from player to player but I'd say on average you can 'suggest terms' to a player 4 times before they give up and walk away. Try offering them perhaps half of what they ask for and throw in a few bonuses. Put a generous team of the year bonus in there since chances are they'll never make it anyway. Offer a decent goal bonus for players who you never expect to get goals. NEVER just offer them what they're asking from the outset.
Also, with regards to your tactics... I always found at that lower level that using a target man was a waste. Usually the attributes of players aren't good enough to give them such roles and you're best off not relying on them. Simple tactics usually work best. I occasionally had an advanced or deeplying playmaker depending on whether or not I had someone suitable. Also, you'll have to judge it yourself since I don't know your players, but I had much success using a pair of limited central defenders with the stopper and cover roles.
Lastly.. pace is everything in lower leagues. Try and find a real pacey advanced forward or poacher. Chances are the opposition defenders won't be able to keep up.
Also, team talks probably won't do too much early on for you, depending on your managerial reputation. If you started with no reputation "Sunday League Footballer" etc then it might be best to let the Assistant handle those for a while.
Don't be afraid to play defensive (mentality) or on the counter. Try to grind out a few draws, and if you do find yourself up, try to hang on for dear life (drop the d-line deeper, get stuck in, get ball forward, etc.)
Haven't spent too much time on that end of the table so can't really speak too much from experience, but I do know how to build a winning team (on a budget, ofc), get finances in order, and win titles!
Things though are just going from bad to worse. I've gone 9 games without a win (and managed only one draw) since the start of the season. I'm comfortably at the bottom of the table.
I wanted to sell my reserves and under-18s but apparently I have none I can sell. (Or if I do, I don't know how to access them). Getting players on free transfers doesn't work out because they always want more weekly wages than my miserable board allows.
Nothing I do in the tactical sphere seems to have any effect at all. I keep losing every match, getting outplayed in possession, have rubbish finances and no chance to bring in any new players.
I feel your pain! I'm terrible at lower league management so tend to stick to big clubs but that gets boring as it becomes very easy, very quickly. I've just started a new game where I've taken over at Port Talbot in the Welsh Prem with the idea of working my way up. Trouble is, we're second bottom, morale is through the floor and, like you I have no budget to speak of!
I was going to start a thread asking for advice but you did it for me
Some good words of advice here which I will also follow!
With regard to finding your reserve & U18 players, when on your Senior Squad page, click the drop down arrow next to where it says "Senior Squad" and they are in there