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My in depth guide to how I've had success with a lower league team and immensly enjoyed FM08.


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I wrote the following for the GQ forum a few weeks ago but thought I might post it here as well to help those struggling to have success, in the lower leagues, but most of the advice here can be used for any club.

I know a lot of people are struggling and tearing their hair out in frustration with FM08, particularly with the 8.0.1 patch. But not me. Since starting my Gateshead save I've enjoyed it a lot, and picked up a lot of useful knowledge (hopefully) along the way. So I thought I'd try and write a step by step guide to how I got to the point where I use one tactic with no tweaking, where the quality of the players in my team is the most important thing, and where I don't seem to suffer from the shots/goals ratio or any other bugs that are apparent enough to annoy me in any way.

This 'guide' will cover everything from the tactic I use, the way I incorporate opposition instructions, team talks, transfer tips, finances and hopefully much more. Some of this will have been covered before perhaps but hopefully there will be something useful for someone. And while it may have been covered before what I'm hoping will make this different is that I'll be outlining exactly what I've done so far to take Gateshead from the Blue Square North to the Premiership.

*Disclaimer. I never cheat and have never replayed any match or anything like that to get results. With that in mind I believe I've developed a series of techniques that help maximise success. But that being said there is no easy way to win in FM. I hope to outline everything I do in the hope that following all instructions will allow people to have similar success to me with minimum effort. But I've always still had periods where my teams not performed as well as I would have liked and I've got frustrated. But I've found that sticking with the same tactic was the better option in the long run and that judging the performance at the end of the season was a much better indicator than judging the performance game to game.

So with this in mind I'll begin.....

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Tactics

Firstly, and probably most importantly is the tactic I use.

The tactic can be found here:

Choppers 4-1-2-2-1 tactic

It's Version 3 of this tactic that you want and it can be found at the bottom of the second page. This tactic is very balanced so don't expect loads of full on attacking football but what it does mean is that because it's a balanced tactic you don't need to tweak from game to game. Saying that I have developed a defensive version of this tactic to be used in some of the harder away games I'm now having in the Championship. I'll be uploading this tonight when I get home from work if you feel you need it. However, in the lower leagues I find that just using V3 is good enough.

Players

If you find the tactic is not working for you then it's almost definitely down to the players you're using (particularly if you're also following all of the other things I do which we'll go into later). This has definitely been the case for me. As I managed to get better players my results improved dramatically.

But this is not always easy in the lower leagues and after a few seasons of struggling to find even a half decent player I stumbled upon something that helped me get promoted the next three seasons in a row. And that was not to listen to my assistant in regards to what players would be interested in coming to my team on loan. When asked to filter out unrealistic targets he gave me a list of absolutely useless players, all worth less than £90k. In the end I got fed up and just listed all the players listed for loan that were valued at £1m or less. I then literally made offers to loan all of them (or only the good ones once their values got down to less than £400k). What I found was that the majority of these players will say they're not interested but some will come to you, particularly players from teams close by, so in my case Sunderland, Newcastle etc.

Now, if you're playing in England the rules are that you can have 4 long term loans per season. So if you're lucky you should get 4 players that are better than the players you already have agreeing to come on loan to you. If you're very lucky then you might get 5 or 6 of these players agreeing and you can choose the best 4. To ensure that you don't just take the first 4 that agree just to find out that two better players have agreed to come on loan to you but are no longer allowed as you've used up your allocation, delay any that you're not 100% convinced about for a week until you know if those better players are going to agree to come to you or not.

You then have the option to bring in some short term loans. In England you can have 5 loan players in the match day squad so I always try to bring a couple more players in on 3 month loans. When their 3 months are up you can't extend them as there's a rule that you can only have youngsters on short term loans for 3 months at the most. So once those two players are coming up to the end of their loan deals I try and find two more. By doing this I try to ensure I always have 6 loan players at my club, 5 which I can always play and 1 for cover. I've found this to work brilliantly as the players you can manage to bring in on loan are usually always better than your useless lower league players. It takes a while to make loan offers for so many players but it's definitely been worth it.

Another tip is to never offer 100% wages to try and keep your outgoings to a minimum. Offer 60% at the most at first, if the loan offer is refused then up it if the player's worth it. Not wasting money is massively important at lower league level, more about that later.

The other thing you need to spend time doing is trawl through the free transfers. At lower league level you only need to concentrate on certain attributes for each position. As there are going to be a lot of free players to trawl through it's much better to sort the decent from the dire in some way. If you have attribute masking enabled this will involve scouting as many free players as possible to reveal all their attributes before taking the next step.

Once you've done enough scouting of free players (or you never had their attributes masked in the first place) then it's time to start looking for the kind of players that will give maximum benefit to the team. The first thing I'd do is to filter all free players that have pace and acceleration of 15 and above. Pace is massively important at lower league level and if you can get a pacey striker and 2 pacey wingers then it will make a big difference.

Next filter by tackling of 14 or more to see if there's any decent free defenders or defensive midfielders out there. At this stage the standard of player that you'll actually be able to sign will be very low so it's mainly just a case of trying to get a few players that are better than the ones in your current squad at this stage. The main thing is to try and get some pace throughout the team, the loan players you hopefully manage to bring in will be the most important ones.

*Disclaimer 2 - This method is not entirely in keeping with the strict rules used in the LLM forum. But if you do want to keep to those rules you just need to only rely on players found by your scouts etc and try and stay away from the player search screen. I however don't strictly follow the LLM rules as I find I don't enjoy it as much. Each to their own.

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Finances

One of the difficult things about lower league management is keeping the finances in the green. I've managed to do this quite comfortably by doing the following.

As soon as you take over your new club get rid of any player or staff member who is not needed to save on wages. I get rid of all youth players that don't require a compensation payout (if they do need compensation I'll use mutual termination and try and sack them on the cheap). I also get rid of any reserve team players. Money will be very tight so I only want enough players for my first team squad, anyone else is just a drain on the finances.

The same goes for the staff. Because of the poor level of facilities and coaches your players are not going to improve. So trying to bring in more coaches is completely pointless. Stick to one assistant and one coach at the most. Same goes for physios, one is enough. You may want to allow yourself 2 or 3 scouts if you have attribute masking on and need to scout players often.

But that's it. Make sure you don't have anyone you don't need and your finances will slowly grow.

Another well known way to inject a bit of cash into the club is to arrange friendlies at your ground with Premier League teams. This could involve approaching all the prem teams as most of them will say no. But hopefully you'll manage to get 3 or 4 to agree. Do this every season to bring in much needed cash.

Training

At this stage the training that you use doesn't really matter. All your players and staff will only be part time, your facilities and coaches will be awful and your players are not going to improve anyway. So it's fine to just stick with the general schedule. I did decide to make my own in part time schedules in the second season. If anyone wants then just ask and I'll upload screenies but to be honest I don't think they made any difference. Not until you're full time and have better facilities and coaches will training actually have much of an effect.

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Right, I think that's everything set for the start of your first actual match. You've got your tactics, you've got your players on the way, you've got your training and hopefully you've trimmed down the playing and backroom staff as much as possible to save money.

Now we move onto what I do from game to game in order to try and keep winning.

Media Interaction

This is quite simple for me, I ignore it. Responding to pre or post match comments seems to have more of a negative than positive effect on players in my opinion, or at least it has a negative effect more often. I've been ignoring most media comments since FM07 and found this to be the steadiest way to not get fluctuations in moral.

The only media comments are do respond to are the following:

When a player gets injured and you get the media comment afterwards about how much will they be missed. In this instance I always respond with 'Well miss player x but I feel we have adequate cover'.

This causes player x to be happy that he will be missed and any other players who play in his position to be pleased that you feel they're good enough to cover. I never bother with any of the other responses here.

Moral is very important in the game. Keeping it as high as possible is essential if you want to avoid slumps.

Team Talks

Massively important when it comes to keeping moral up, especially after a loss. Can also effectively be used to turn a 2-0 half time deficit into a win. The main thing I try and do is to never get angry with my team for losing, even if I really want to. I always sympathise or tell them it was a good effort when they lose. Full details of team talks here:

At the start of a match:-

If I'm at home and anything other than massive favourite I'll use 'For the fans'.

If I'm at home and i'm the massive favourite I'll use 'I expect a win'.

If I'm away and I'm the favourite or it's pretty even I'll use 'Good luck for the match ahead'

If I'm away and not favourite I'll use 'You can win tonight'

At half time:-

If I'm 2 or more goals up I'll use 'Pleased'

If I'm 1 goal ahead I'll use whatever version of encourage is shown. This will be the third option and usually says simply 'Encourage' or 'Show Encouragement'. To me this is encouraging the players to go on and finish the game off and this has worked very well for me since FM07.

If I'm drawing at half time then I'll use the same as above although in this instance the option may say 'Tell the players they can win this'.

If I'm 1 goal behind I'll use the same as the above.

If I'm 2 or more goals behind, or I'm 1 goal behind but the team have been playing particularly badly, I'll use 'I want to see more from you'. This will often spur the team on to attempt a come-back.

End of the game:-

If I've won I use the team option of 'Pleased' and the individually tell any player who got a rating of 8 or more that I'm 'Delighted' with them. Giving some individual team talks seems to have a very positive effect on players and I do this after every win.

If we've drawn I'll generally 'Sympathise' unless we were big underdogs in which case I'll use the same as above.

If we've lost the game, no matter how badly, I'll always use sympathise. I do this no matter how annoyed I am with my players as I've found that getting angry or disappointed with them in the pre match team talk can damage moral to the point where the team goes on a losing streak.

The only exception to the above is if we've lost narrowly, particularly to a better team. In this case I'll use 'Good Effort'.

I've found the above to work very well for me since FM07 and I've found that keeping moral up has a massive effect on team performances over the season.

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Opposition Instructions

Another tool that I find very useful, and use at the start of every game is opposition instructions.

The players I look at first are the strikers and the two wingers of the opposition. And this is what I'm looking for:-

Which foot is there strongest. Whichever it is I'll show them onto their weaker foot. I.e if their right footed I'll choose 'Show onto foot -left' from the opposition instructions.

If a striker is either footed I don't bother with the show onto foot option as there's no point. If a winger is either footed I'll still choose to show them inside as my tactic is quite narrow and showing them inside means they'll be more likely to be tackled. So basically I always show right wingers onto their left foot and vice versa.

The next thing I'm looking at on these players is their bravery. If it's 11 or less I select 'Tackling - Hard' from the opposition instructions in the hope of shaking them up a bit. Anything above 11 and I just leave it as is.

Finally I'll look at their pace an acceleration. If both these attributes are under 10 then I'll select 'Closing Down - Always' from the opposition instructions. This means slower players can be closed down quickly and because they're slow you don’t have to worry about them racing past the advancing defender/midfielder.

Now that I've got the strikers and wingers covered there's something else I do every game. I select each centre back (there could be 2 or 3 of these depending on the opponent’s formation) and the Keeper and select 'Closing Down - Always from the opposition instructions. This encourages my forward players to put more pressure on the opposition defence when they have the ball and has so far been quite effective.

There are then a couple of final things I'll look at when setting up my opposition instructions. The first thing I'll do is look at any central midfielders, attacking midfielders, or defensive midfielders. What I'm looking for here is whether any of them have a particularly high number of assists or goals. This tells me they're influential, perhaps a playmaker. If this is the case I'll close this player down often, show them onto their weaker foot and tackle them hard if they're not very brave. This will hopefully nullify the threat from this player.

The final thing I'll look at is the condition of each opposition player. If they happen to be playing a player who's condition is quite low, say below 90%, I'll set 'Tackling - Hard' from the opposition instructions for this player in the hope of injuring him. This has worked for me on some occasions.

Summery

Well I think that's it. That's everything I've done to ensure that I could have success without worrying about tweaking my tactics at all. On that subject I'd just like to point out that if I'm behind or ahead in a game I also don't change or tweak my tactics. I trust it to either protect the lead I have or get the goal I need. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but hey, you can't win 'em all. The fact is at the end of the season I've managed to finish where I wanted to finish without tweaking but by following the methods outlined above.

Hopefully this will be of help to someone. I'd like to say that if you follow everything I've done here to the letter you'll have success. Hopefully that will be the case, I've used most of this stuff since FM07 and it's always worked for me. But there are no guarantees of success in FM08. What I will say is that the above should allow you to concentrate on just improving the players at your club. With these methods better players should equal success.

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Cleon:

An excellent thread icon14.gif

Added to the tactics bible too icon_smile.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Cool, thanks very much icon14.gif

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Macgyver0:

Chopper99 You use the same Opposition Instructions if you are in a higher level team? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yep, when it comes to the opposition instructions I'm still using them in the exaxt same way in the Premiership with Gateshead. I also used them in the same way when in my first '08 game as Man Utd.

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chopper99,

Excellent post!

Actually my approach is very similar: same formation, exactly the same opposition instructions for wingers (though I don't bother to check their pace - just close them down, in Championship it works fine). I also try to identify opposition playmaker (either from scout report, or by checking pass attempts) and close him down as well. I use very similar teamtalk choice logic and exactly the same media interactons. Team /players instructions are slightly different since I use global sliders mainly, but it's not so important because they depend on players anyway.

I can vouch - this approach works great in Championship. I am Crystal Palace (predicted 10th), after 18 games I am 2nd with 13W-2D-3L, all three losses to clear favorites in the first 6 games, when I was not 100% sure about my 1st team + my players did not know each other very well. Despite the losses fans were still pleased as it appears to them I controlled those games.

Started wondering though that it's too early for my team to get promotion this season. Both my best DCs are on loan, FBs are definitely not of Premiership quality, left winger nowhere near Premiership, and I need much better DM. Plus I have ST and AMC on loan, though they are not too superior relative to my own players. Of course, I can try to loan some players again, but that would mean longer adaptation period, which may cost me. So, I guess "loan as many as you could" approach may backfire if you earn promotion too fast.

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I tried a few of your tips last night, with great success. Opposition intructions were particularly useful. I have started to close down the slower players and tackle the ones with low bravery.

I managed to score a few big wins against better teams, but made a few 0-0 draws against teams where I was a big favorite to win. Still trying to find out what went wrong there...

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by the_gaffa:

Some really good tips there. Cheers.

What are your thoughts on pitch size alterations? You seem to be using a relatively narrow formation... do you use a narrow pitch too? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I used a narrow pitch for a couple of seasons but didn't really notice any benefit.

So now I just stick to the normal pitch size. It might be worth experimenting more with the narrow pitch though.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bilkar1985:

'If I'm away and I'm the favourite or it's pretty even I'll use 'Good luck for the match ahead'

If I'm away and not favourite I'll use 'You can win tonight'

I think it goea vice-versa..away and fav.:you can win,away and not,or even:Good luck..Am I wrong? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

That's your choice but I use it as outlined above.

If I'm playing a better team than me I'll always use 'You can win tonight' as I see this as telling my team that they can actually win this game, despite being under-dogs. If I see 'Good luck' in this situation it would feel like I'd already resigned myself to the fact that they will lose and I'm nothing but some good luck will get us a win.

I use good luck when slight favourite simply because it's the best of a bad bunch of options. Telling the team 'You can win this' makes them sound like the under-dog when they aren't. Saying I expect a win should only be reserved for games where you're massive favourites, or in absolutely must-win games. That only really leaves 'Good luck', although I'd rather use something like 'Lets do a professional job' to indicate that while they are favourites they still need to put the work in and get the win.

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More praise: I had a long session last night using your suggested lower league tactics and most of your instructions above. I won the Swedish first division by quite a good margin, and started second season with three wins, one of which was a 4-1 against a team where I had the odds against me.

Main differences:

1. I tend to use bilkar1985's "you can win" only if odds are even ore I'm a slight favorite to win, else "good luck". I believe that "you can win" may put too much pressure on my young squad.

2. I buy players, never loan. Partly because I think it is harder to get good loans to Sweden, and because I enjoy building the balance sheet by successful signings.

Thank you so much, Chopper. I am finally enjoying the game after a long slump.

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Chopper,

Do you think the team talk is so important, or is it to be used in conjunction with the correct tactics.

I often find if I'm favourite for a match the tactics I normally use, set at about normal for most settings don't work, particularly against a fast attack.

Do you think my team talk is wrong (You can win) or do you think it is more likely to be my tactics.

I play a 4-4-1-1 tactic with 2 of the midfielders being defensive. Although they are positioned defensively should I play one as more attacking than the other defensive midfielder?

Thanks for your thoughts.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by polegategavin:

Chopper,

Do you think the team talk is so important, or is it to be used in conjunction with the correct tactics.

I often find if I'm favourite for a match the tactics I normally use, set at about normal for most settings don't work, particularly against a fast attack.

Do you think my team talk is wrong (You can win) or do you think it is more likely to be my tactics.

I play a 4-4-1-1 tactic with 2 of the midfielders being defensive. Although they are positioned defensively should I play one as more attacking than the other defensive midfielder?

Thanks for your thoughts. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The thing about the team talks is that it's all about keeping the moral of the team as high as possible. Getting the team talks right can keep moral up even after a defeat, get it wrong and you could find your team on a downward spiral.

But of course it's nothing without the right tactics. Keeping moral high may keep your players playing as well as they can, but it won't turn a poor tactic into a good tactic.

So I think if you're having trouble, particularly against against quick teams, then it's almost definitely down to your tactics.

I'd just try playing around with the formation itself and both the team and individual instructions to see what works, without detailed knowledge of the tactic it's difficult to say what needs to be changed.

Watching a couple of games on extended or even full highlights just to see what's working and what isn't will also help.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chopper99:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by polegategavin:

Chopper,

Do you think the team talk is so important, or is it to be used in conjunction with the correct tactics.

I often find if I'm favourite for a match the tactics I normally use, set at about normal for most settings don't work, particularly against a fast attack.

Do you think my team talk is wrong (You can win) or do you think it is more likely to be my tactics.

I play a 4-4-1-1 tactic with 2 of the midfielders being defensive. Although they are positioned defensively should I play one as more attacking than the other defensive midfielder?

Thanks for your thoughts. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

The thing about the team talks is that it's all about keeping the moral of the team as high as possible. Getting the team talks right can keep moral up even after a defeat, get it wrong and you could find your team on a downward spiral.

But of course it's nothing without the right tactics. Keeping moral high may keep your players playing as well as they can, but it won't turn a poor tactic into a good tactic.

So I think if you're having trouble, particularly against against quick teams, then it's almost definitely down to your tactics.

I'd just try playing around with the formation itself and both the team and individual instructions to see what works, without detailed knowledge of the tactic it's difficult to say what needs to be changed.

Watching a couple of games on extended or even full highlights just to see what's working and what isn't will also help. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks Chopper for taking the time to answer my questions.

It's interesting what you have said about morale being affected by team talks, despite the results, as I kept morale high despite losing my first 9 games in the Premiership.

In my last game, the fast striker was being fed the ball, to feet I assume, between my midfield and defence, but then dribbling between my 2 centre backs and having a one on one with the keeper. I have had one of them on zonal marking and the other on man marking and both on closing down in their own area.

I'm never sure when to have a defender on closing down or not,I thought with a faster striker against them that it was probably better NOT to close down so much.

My defensive line has been the first clcik of normal, should this be set slightly deeper so that the striker is then dribbling on to them more?

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by polegategavin:

Thanks Chopper for taking the time to answer my questions.

It's interesting what you have said about morale being affected by team talks, despite the results, as I kept morale high despite losing my first 9 games in the Premiership.

In my last game, the fast striker was being fed the ball, to feet I assume, between my midfield and defence, but then dribbling between my 2 centre backs and having a one on one with the keeper. I have had one of them on zonal marking and the other on man marking and both on closing down in their own area.

I'm never sure when to have a defender on closing down or not,I thought with a faster striker against them that it was probably better NOT to close down so much.

My defensive line has been the first clcik of normal, should this be set slightly deeper so that the striker is then dribbling on to them more? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

In this situation, yes I would drop the defensive line a bit so the striker has a herder time getting in behind your centre backs. Personally I'd also have both centre backs on zonal, tight marking rather than have one man marking and one not.

Your right to not close this striker down too much but it might be worth you man marking him with one of your defensive midfielders, rather than a centre back. I've found this to be very effective in the past, you have someone watching the striker in question when the opposition has the ball, but the defenders are not getting dragged out of position and are hopefully ready to stop the striker if he gets away from the DMC.

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In this situation, yes I would drop the defensive line a bit so the striker has a herder time getting in behind your centre backs. Personally I'd also have both centre backs on zonal, tight marking rather than have one man marking and one not.

Your right to not close this striker down too much but it might be worth you man marking him with one of your defensive midfielders, rather than a centre back. I've found this to be very effective in the past, you have someone watching the striker in question when the opposition has the ball, but the defenders are not getting dragged out of position and are hopefully ready to stop the striker if he gets away from the DMC.

Interesting and helpful comments as usual, Chopper.

I had never thought of using a DMC to mark a striker, I will give it a go.

Is it better to have them man mark specific player, or to set the opposition instructions to close down or mark tightly?

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by polegategavin:

Is it better to have them man mark specific player, or to set the opposition instructions to close down or mark tightly? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'd go into the tactics screen before the game and set one of the DMC's to mark this specific striker rather than use the opposition instructions.

Good luck icon14.gif

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chopper99:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by polegategavin:

Is it better to have them man mark specific player, or to set the opposition instructions to close down or mark tightly? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'd go into the tactics screen before the game and set one of the DMC's to mark this specific striker rather than use the opposition instructions.

Good luck icon14.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Chopper,

I tried doing this this morning but cannot find an option for mark specific player, in FM08. Am I doing something wrong or looking in the wrong place?

I have used various skins, including the original FM08 SI skin, but none of them seem to have this option.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by polegategavin:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chopper99:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by polegategavin:

Is it better to have them man mark specific player, or to set the opposition instructions to close down or mark tightly? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'd go into the tactics screen before the game and set one of the DMC's to mark this specific striker rather than use the opposition instructions.

Good luck icon14.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Chopper,

I tried doing this this morning but cannot find an option for mark specific player, in FM08. Am I doing something wrong or looking in the wrong place?

I have used various skins, including the original FM08 SI skin, but none of them seem to have this option. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

You need to go to tactics then highlight the player who will be doing the marking (so in this case one of your DMC's) and look for the option you use to set zonal or man marking. Here you can also set 'Specific' man marking and this is where you choose who you want that player to man mark.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by robertolfc90:

This thread made me wanna start a new game as York. 1st season loaned fraizer campbell and he scored 82 goals, winning me the BSP. But now I need much better players if we are gonna get promoted again, and with 0 funds and little scouting allowed how do you handle this? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Have another read of the section of this thread entitled 'Players'. I'd try and loan players in the way I've described in that section and basically spend a lot of time trawling through unattached players.

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Hi Chopper.

Very good guide to lower league football.

I am playing with Caernarfon in the welsh league, and am using your tactic.

It is very good, but i'm struggling when I am heavy favourite and teams going defensive against me.

Do you have any advice to this matter? My team is good when I can hit other teams on counter, but I am not sure how I can overcome the really defensive teams.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Taunton:

Hi Chopper.

Very good guide to lower league football.

I am playing with Caernarfon in the welsh league, and am using your tactic.

It is very good, but i'm struggling when I am heavy favourite and teams going defensive against me.

Do you have any advice to this matter? My team is good when I can hit other teams on counter, but I am not sure how I can overcome the really defensive teams. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hmmm, so far I've not really noticed this problem using V3 of the tactic with Gateshead.

However, if I was looking to change something to force the game and look for a goal towards the middle of the second half I'd try putting forward arrows on the DMC and the two AMC's. I'd then drop time wasting, up the defensive line a bit and up the individual mentalities of each player by 1 or 2 notches to make them a bit more attack minded (I try to avoid making drastic changes stright away). You could then increase these mentalities another notch 10 minutes later if you've still not found a way through and so on.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chopper99:

Finances

One of the difficult things about lower league management is keeping the finances in the green.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I play an, originally C2 outfit in Italy, and didn't pay much attention to finances in first season, just the odd friendly, but decided to fix the finances to be able to move up.

I arrange up to 3 friendlies/week all season out with my reserves, and U20s pre-season. This gave a net of €10 mil. in one year. I get Serie A reserve teams, and german and spanish designated 2nd teams as opposition.

Not sure how much you can do in England, tho.

Thanks for great posts.

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Great thread and some excellent thoughts, particularly on opposition tactics, just a couple of questions though.

you have discussed what you do with closing down, show onto foot and hard tackling, but in what way do you use tight marking through oppo instructions, if at all. Also, with tackling, i tend to also look at the tackling stat of the oppo player. Anything less than 10 gets hard tackling as well for me.

You also mention initially that you never tweak this tactic, and this encourages me greatly as this is how i like to play the game, i enjoy making a tactic but not constantly changing it. I prefer concentrating on other aspects of the game. Unfortunately i havent achieved this yet, maybe i'm too impatient. You do to seem to contradict yourself though:

This tactic is very balanced so don't expect loads of full on attacking football but what it does mean is that because it's a balanced tactic you don't need to tweak from game to game.

That's everything I've done to ensure that I could have success without worrying about tweaking my tactics at all. On that subject I'd just like to point out that if I'm behind or ahead in a game I also don't change or tweak my tactics. I trust it to either protect the lead I have or get the goal I need. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but hey, you can't win 'em all. The fact is at the end of the season I've managed to finish where I wanted to finish without tweaking but by following the methods outlined above.

you then mention in your replies to others:

In this situation, yes I would drop the defensive line a bit so the striker has a herder time getting in behind your centre backs. Personally I'd also have both centre backs on zonal, tight marking rather than have one man marking and one not.

However, if I was looking to change something to force the game and look for a goal towards the middle of the second half I'd try putting forward arrows on the DMC and the two AMC's. I'd then drop time wasting, up the defensive line a bit and up the individual mentalities of each player by 1 or 2 notches to make them a bit more attack minded (I try to avoid making drastic changes stright away). You could then increase these mentalities another notch 10 minutes later if you've still not found a way through and so on.

these last two comments do seem to suggest that you make quite a lot of tweaks to your tactis, nothing wrong with that as i already said i think thats the only way forward in this game, but it was your initial comment that you dont tweak your tactic at all that really intrigued me.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by BaadMofo:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chopper99:

Finances

One of the difficult things about lower league management is keeping the finances in the green.

</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I play an, originally C2 outfit in Italy, and didn't pay much attention to finances in first season, just the odd friendly, but decided to fix the finances to be able to move up.

I arrange up to 3 friendlies/week all season out with my reserves, and U20s pre-season. This gave a net of €10 mil. in one year. I get Serie A reserve teams, and german and spanish designated 2nd teams as opposition.

Not sure how much you can do in England, tho.

Thanks for great posts. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

some would say that is bordering on cheating, its not far off entering a cheat code at the start of the game which gives you an additional 10mill at the start of the season. Fairplay for exploiting the game in this way (ai does it to us enough) but surely this makes your game too easy with that much money in the lower leagues.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by theboywonder:

Great thread and some excellent thoughts, particularly on opposition tactics, just a couple of questions though.

you have discussed what you do with closing down, show onto foot and hard tackling, but in what way do you use tight marking through oppo instructions, if at all. Also, with tackling, i tend to also look at the tackling stat of the oppo player. Anything less than 10 gets hard tackling as well for me. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I have never yet used the tight marking in opposition instructions. I have my team on tight, zonal marking anyway so have no need for this.

As for the hard tackling of players with tackling less than 10, what's your thinking behind this? It may be worth looking into, id just like to know what made you decide to this and what benifit you see it having.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">You also mention initially that you never tweak this tactic, and this encourages me greatly as this is how i like to play the game, i enjoy making a tactic but not constantly changing it. I prefer concentrating on other aspects of the game. Unfortunately i havent achieved this yet, maybe i'm too impatient. You do to seem to contradict yourself though:

This tactic is very balanced so don't expect loads of full on attacking football but what it does mean is that because it's a balanced tactic you don't need to tweak from game to game.

That's everything I've done to ensure that I could have success without worrying about tweaking my tactics at all. On that subject I'd just like to point out that if I'm behind or ahead in a game I also don't change or tweak my tactics. I trust it to either protect the lead I have or get the goal I need. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't but hey, you can't win 'em all. The fact is at the end of the season I've managed to finish where I wanted to finish without tweaking but by following the methods outlined above.

you then mention in your replies to others:

In this situation, yes I would drop the defensive line a bit so the striker has a herder time getting in behind your centre backs. Personally I'd also have both centre backs on zonal, tight marking rather than have one man marking and one not. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Here the person in question had said they weren't using my tactics but were just looking for some tips on how to reduce the number of goals they concede against fast teams using their own tactics.

You're right, I never tweak my tactic from game to game, although I have recently developed an away version of my tactic which i'll employ at the start of away games against very tough opposition. The only tweaking I'll then do is to switch from the away to the home version if needed, so just a couple of clicks.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">However, if I was looking to change something to force the game and look for a goal towards the middle of the second half I'd try putting forward arrows on the DMC and the two AMC's. I'd then drop time wasting, up the defensive line a bit and up the individual mentalities of each player by 1 or 2 notches to make them a bit more attack minded (I try to avoid making drastic changes stright away). You could then increase these mentalities another notch 10 minutes later if you've still not found a way through and so on. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

In this instance the guy said he was struggling to overcome very defensive teams with the tactic. It may have just been down to his players not being good enough but I thought I'd add some suggestions for if he did want to try a few tweaks towards the end of a game and try and get that goal.

I don't do this and have found that improving my squad is all I've needed to do to improve my results.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">these last two comments do seem to suggest that you make quite a lot of tweaks to your tactis, nothing wrong with that as i already said i think thats the only way forward in this game, but it was your initial comment that you dont tweak your tactic at all that really intrigued me. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

As I said I actually make no tweaks, but I can see how I caused confusion.

The only reason I've developed an away version of my tactic is because I've over-achieved a lot with Gateshead and found myself in the Premiership before my squad was good enough to compete there. So having a more defensive version of the tactic was necessary to fall back on.

The defensive version, if needed, can be found in my tactic thread, linked at the top of this thread.

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  • 1 month later...

This is a great thread, thanks Chopper.

However currently a victim of my own success, on course for 4 back to back promotions with Braintree, putting me in the championship......with a 4000 seater stadium!

Due to cup runs I've got £1.7m in the bank, but losing a little each month, however the board won't expand the stadium! How much do I need in the bank or is it a case of I need to make myself profitable month to month? This is seriously going to hold me back now.

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by mrdanbartlett:

This is a great thread, thanks Chopper.

However currently a victim of my own success, on course for 4 back to back promotions with Braintree, putting me in the championship......with a 4000 seater stadium!

Due to cup runs I've got £1.7m in the bank, but losing a little each month, however the board won't expand the stadium! How much do I need in the bank or is it a case of I need to make myself profitable month to month? This is seriously going to hold me back now. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

4000 seats in the Championship? That may be some kind of record icon_smile.gif

I'd say you need to try and be making a profit month to month. I did this with Gateshead, mainly by making sure I was as far under my wage budget as possible, and the board gave me small expansions every now and then. Once I hit the Premier League though they decided to expand the stadium by 11,000 seats! This meant the Stadium had to be closed and I had to ground share with Sunderland for a season. The upshot of this was that my average attendance for that season was almost 40,000 so the board decided I needed another whopping 10,000 seats and again had me ground sharing with Sunderland for another season. My Gateshead stadium's now 45,000 seats.

So the moral is that it's definitely possible. Try and stay in the Championship using as little wages as possible. Get rid of any youth and reserve players that you can do without, especially players on high wages who aren't really getting into the team and you'll soon have enough cash for an expansion.

Good luck icon14.gif

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4000! I wish!

Just got promoted with Chelmsford to The Championship my capacity is only 3000, not been increased since I was in the Blue Square South.

Spent about 3 hours last night, looking for possible transfer and loan targets, not easy when your transfer budget is zero.

Drew my first friendly with Marseille though, so the line up can't be too shabby icon_biggrin.gif

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Thanks Chopper - thats good to hear about the possibility of groundsharing etc, didnt know that happened in FM, awesome.

The board have just announced expansion by 1670 seats, I hope they mean on top of the 4000 and not just turn some of the standing into seating! Its currently 250 seated, rest standing.

4 back to back promos! I've managed to grab a few class bargain youngsters for this season already so looking good to avoid relegation. Plus the board have given me £800k to spend, spent £200k so far on 4 good players. icon_smile.gif

Swash - use choppers tip regarding he world -released players. Plus search for players with expiring contracts etc. Works ok for me just takes time.

Looking to spend 2-3 seasons in the Championship expanding the stadium and developing my players before making a push for the Prem.

One thing though the club has a 25% wage increase in all players contracts, so just by getting promoted my wage budget jumped! its current 45k/week, not too bad I guess but not sure if I'll be able to make month to month profit on 5600 capacity ground.

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Yeah, it was an excellent little touch when I ended up ground sharing with Sunderland. Although the board expanding my stadium so much put an end to my dream of them just building a new stadium and naming it after me, which is one of 2 things I really want to happen to me in the game but that so far hasn't (the other being having a son come through the youth team).

The promotion wage rises can be a big blow to the finances, another reason you've got to be as stingey as possible when offering contracts. I think your idea of trying to spend a few seasons in the Championship is a good one though, hopefully you'll then get another stadium increase or two. Once you do hit the Premiership the TV money that you get coming in every month does make a massive difference though.

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Excellent thread chopper , Some of your tips have made me think how i set up my tactics . The team are now doing a few things i was struggling to get them to do before so thanks for that .

On the lower league bit when you are searching for players do you take much notice of your scout and assistant manager ? (ie good league one player ect ect ) or do you just judge them by there attributes ?

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Chilli - I always use my scouts and assistant as a guide, if they say a players going to be excellent I'll take a closer look at him.

At the same time though, particularly in the lower leagues, if I find a player with certain high key attributes I'll try and sign them even if my scouts don't rate them. I find that in the lower leagues one or two key attributes can be all you need for a good player.

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sorry to be a pain but chopper you mention a 'players' thread. don't know if i'm doing something wrong in the search tool but i can't find it anywhere..if you could post the link that would be awesome. cheers

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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by th1:

sorry to be a pain but chopper you mention a 'players' thread. don't know if i'm doing something wrong in the search tool but i can't find it anywhere..if you could post the link that would be awesome. cheers </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I've had another read back through the thread and can't see anywhere where I mention a players thread.

Could you tell me specifically where I've mentioned it in case I've missed it?

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One tip from me is to hire either a coach or scout with very high 'judging player potential and judging player ability' levels, i.e 15+ in each. I have a couple of ok scouts who I get to scount the leagues below me, but if they recomend anyone I have my coach with the hiher ratings check over him.

I couldnt get a scout with high ratings but found a coach with them so had to make do.

Helps me see if a player is worth signing.

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