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FM19 - The Community Formation Experiment

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So, the Spring time is upon us, the weather is improving (aye, right), FM has had i assume its near final patches (i might be talking rubbish, i have lost all track of when the next game is due out etc) and we are at that point where perhaps people are a little fatigued with the game and looking for something today, particularly as the real season reaches boiling point. Plus, no World Cup or Euros to look forward to (don't even be giving me the Nations bleeding cup).

Seems like as good a time as any to revive the marvel that is the Community formation experiment...........

For those not familiar,  this is i think the 6th incarnation of this experiment (the first was swallowed up by the forum updates a few years ago, but i think at some point, someone came forward to claim the original idea - it was not mine). Previous threads, in reverse order




(Note - much of the below is just the copy / pasta from last years thread, so might be riddled with errors or things not relevant this year - i am lazy - sue me)

ackground / Premise
This is really designed as a bit of fun. A change for people to try something different in tactical terms. It is not a "challenge" as such - there are no points award, not league tables or anything like that. It is an experiment around challenging our ideas of how much a "formation" truley matters. 

There have been various great threads over the years specifically challenging that fact, and this is just taking that concept and adding an element of getting users outside their comfort zone and trying something they might never have tried before. 

With more new roles added this year to the ME, this should provide even more variety to this challenge. It has always generated plenty interest, although inevitably a chunk will sign up and never start the challenger, or drift away after a few games (A man, starting off a job and never bothering to progress it........surely not, you say....)  

General Principles 

  • Everyone has to use the same database (19.3.4 i think we are on now?) - with no database edits
  • Other add ons are fine - its only important that the starting squads are the same for everyone
  • Past experience the same for everyone - "international experience" for everyone and coaching badge the same (highest level) 
  • Everyone has to use the same starting team - We would agree in advance, and if it was popular maybe run 2 versions with different teams
  • Inward transfers limited to 2 permanent signings, one loan signing (a bit arbitrary, but its how i vaguely remember the original thread)
  • No limitations on outward transfers / loans
  • The experiment tends to be about what you can achieve in 1 single season, but there is no reason you cannot continue beyond that, including providing tactical updates in here 
  • It is preferable to play this on "full fat" FM, rather than FM touch as, i believe, the later has quite a difference in terms of tactical familiarity. Given that this experiment likely involves quite a bit of tactical maneuvering, it would mean we dont compare apples with apples. That said, it is designed to be fun and not competitive, so if for some reason you really refuse to play the full game and must play the "kids version" (  ) Then i wont stop you taking part. I do however reserve the right to mock you.
  • Updates in this thread are highly encouraged - Obviously with a tactical slant given this is TTF, but give as much detail as you like - Telling / showing us how you took your allocated formation and made it work is what it is all about - Share ideas, give feedback to others, all the things this forum does well in general. 


  • Each user who wants to take part gets given one of the default formations - I use a complex machine (e.g, a bit of basic VB code...) to make sure the picks are random, they are not allocated by me. 
  • The formation (that is to say the player slots on the pitch), must not be changed in anyway. So if you get 5 - 4 - 1 you must keep a flat back 5, a flat midfield 4 and a single striker in the central slot.
  • Any other tactical options can be customised - This is the essence of the experiment - using roles, duties, team and player instructions, you can try to take a basic shape and make it function in different ways
  • We have tended to exclude the "most popular" default formations. So 442 flat and 4231, and of course 41221 which is probably the most used). It can be a bit subjective, and you can argue to exclude a few others but that sort of limits the number of people we can involve
  • If we get huge interest, like last year, we can easily start to allocate a second round of formations. No huge issue if we eventually end up with 2 people using the same formation
  • If the interest is sustained, we could run a second iteration with a different team (also relies on me not losing interest in organising!) 
  • REALLY EXCITING (not)- You will see the actual process of the formation being allocated, less there be any suggestions that i manipulate things! 

The Team

Ah always the hardest part! We will never get a team that everyone will agree on, but as a general guide:

  • Avoid the EPL, as in general we all know that league so well. There is a nice additional aspect to this being a team that a lot of us will not have managed, or come up against quite as often
  • Generally stick to big Euro leagues - So Italy, Spain, Germany, France are the obvious ones. Holland / Portugal possible but the squads outside the CL Teams there can be a bit patchwork
  • Avoid teams who are in the Champions League - The challenge of making your formation work is that little bit more fun if you are not a true top tier team
  • If we can pick a team who are in the Europa, that certainly adds an extra aspect 
  • Stick to teams who are probably expected to finish outside the CL spots, but also stick to teams likely to be in the top 8 / 10 to give us balance between making the best of the players we have, and not being too hard by having a terrible squad
  • Try to find a team with a relatively balanced squad, since transfers are limited and the formations will vary a lot. 

I will do  second post detailing the suggested teams shortly and we can get going! If you want to be involved, just post saying so and comment on the team if you like, will aim to start drawing formations tomorrow, unless we agree on a team earlier! 

Also, there maybe a slight delay in getting started this year. I appear to have mislaid the complex technology which drives the entire engine to this - E.g i cannae find the damn Excel i built to allocate the teams......i will need to reach deep into my memory to remind myself what VB code i actually used to properly randomise it, and i will need to type out all the damn formations one by one.  Probably at some point tomorrow during work i guess. 

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So teams - sticking to the tried and tested approach of picking a team from one of the big nations and picking one in the Europa league......also trying to not pick a really strong side, so that tactics really are the key to the experiment.......here are our options.

Rotationally, its the turn of Spain (we did Koln last year, Sassuolo the year before and St. Ettiene the year before) but here are all the options. 


Bordeaux - A reasonable mix of positions in the squad and a team with history but the team feels a bit "meh" to me

Marseille - A good strong and balanced squad with some quite cult players. Probably a bit stronger than we normally use but a good candidate 

Rennes -  Similar to Bordeaux but possbily the squad not quite balanced enough for this


We did this last year so probably not again, but Bayer 04 are a bit strong, as are Liepzig probably. Frankfurt would be the interesting choice but i probably would still not do the same league 2 years in a row


Atalanta - A really interesting side but probably a bit short on balance with barely any wide men in the squad

Lazio - Also a bit unbalanced with hardly any wingers or strikers

Milan - The really tempting one.......balanced squad but maybe a bit too good for how we generally do this. 


Betis - A good option, pretty much balanced squad with some interesting players and not top quality

Sevilla - Another in the "maybe a bit too good" camp i would say

Villareal - Done them only a few years back so probably not


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I never seem to get the time these days to play these things properly and write updates (being an adult is not fun). But I will give it my best.

As for teams. I think it was Italian last year, no? How about Frankfurt? Not in the UCL, flying high in the league this season. Pretty decent team from what I remember. Or we could try to make something from the mess than is AC Milan.

Or perhaps LOSC or Rennes in France.

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@Jambo98 Excellent news! Count me in.

3 hours ago, sporadicsmiles said:

I think it was Italian last year, no?

Um, no. It was FC Koln last year (and I don't think anyone did as badly as their real manager). In receding order we've had Sassuolo, St Etienne and Villareal. So it may be time for Spain again (if we stick to rotating through the big leagues). 

In Spain the Euro Cup contenders are Real Hispalis, Sevilla and Villareal.

In France: Bordeaux, Marseilles and Rennes.

In Italy: Atalanta, Lazio and AC Milan.

Personally, my vote goes to Bordeaux.

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Updated post 2 with the teams, as a few have noted, its technically the turn of Spain if we stick to rotating them and i see little reason why not to. Real Betis seem the most suitable option there to me.......

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Now all i need to do is rebuild the damn machine..............will try and get that sorted this arvo. My VB skills are more rusty than they were about 4 years ago when i created this :D  I might need to rope one of my work staff into doing this for me under some sort of false pretence........

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Right lads, we are in business. Real Betis it is (of course, Real Hispalis........). 


I have rebuilt the complex bit of technology which assigns the formations, just gotta type in all the formations (once i finally get excel to install on this machine...) and then i can start allocating out. 

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Alright then folks, time to start allocating out formations.....Last year i pasted in a GIF of each one being allocated, but frankly that is a lot of effort and the forum software messes with it half the time, so time i will show it for the first couple, then just post the outcome for everyone else :D 

So the first set of 3, with demo:

@sporadicsmiles - 4123 DM AM Narrow 


@warlock - 352


@Robson 07 -424 Wide 



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Ahahaha, @Klfh we're in very similar boats here, I'm interested to see what you come up with. At least from my initial explorations, Betis does at least have a squad that gives you some freedom in terms of approaching these unusual formations. I have something that I'm excited to see how it actually plays, if you like, I'll hold off from posting it until you get yours up, so we're not influencing each other.

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Count me in please Jambo! Glad it's Real Betis... did a save with them earlier on in the year but was utterly disastrous, now I've got a second chance :D

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10 hours ago, scratchmonkey said:

Ahahaha, @Klfh we're in very similar boats here, I'm interested to see what you come up with. At least from my initial explorations, Betis does at least have a squad that gives you some freedom in terms of approaching these unusual formations. I have something that I'm excited to see how it actually plays, if you like, I'll hold off from posting it until you get yours up, so we're not influencing each other.

Fair enough! Here goes nothing...

I actually agree with you, at a first glance I was really perplexed by this formation. It's way out of my depth, I never play strikerless and always with a four man back line so a lot of firsts for me! When looking at the squad however, it looks pretty balanced and has some pretty complete players that can slot into a lot of different roles. This is good, because I'm gonna be putting a lot of square pegs in round holes...

The simple thing to do when presented with the 5-2-2-1-0 would be to put the AM as a SS and pretend that he is a striker. I have another wild idea that I have kind of been toying with in my head for a while and I'm gonna pursuit it...

The key players for me is Carvalho and Canales. I'm gonna try to put them to good use nd build the tactic around them.

The crazy idea I've had us to work with an offensive pivot. I have done defensive pivots using a single or two DM:s, but here the AM will be the fulcrum. This means that he will be stationary and the team will move around him. At the same time he is supposed to be the catalyst of all play. For me this means using an enganche - a role I have never used before... so no first hand experience of the most central element in the tactic, great!

I need lots of runners to attack space and a number of players supporting the play. For no other reason than symmetry I chose to go with three threesomes... there attacking runners to attack space, three supporting players to provide options and width and three holding players for defensive stability.

My attacking trio will be my two wide players (Hello on the left wing and Guards to on the right) they will be set up as inverted wingers to hopefully aggressively attack the box. They will in practice be my "strikers". The third, and likely most important, attacker will be Carvalho playing as a VOL.

My supporting players will be Javi Garcia as a DM next to Carvalho and my two full backs. Now, the FB:s would probably normally be played with roles as wing backs in a back five, but for me a WB is all about crosses. Since I don't have a true striker I don't want them crossing, therefore they will be full backs with the get further forward PI. For personel, I go out of the box. With three central defenders and two DM:s, I don't we the wide defenders as true defenders but rather midfielders. My LB will be Lo Celso and my RB will be Joaquin.

The three CB:s are therefore my holding players. Since has some cool playmaking PPM:s as well as high intelligence I'm gonna put him centrally as a covering BPD, flanked on either side by Sidnei and Mandi as normal CD:s

I think Pau Lopes is a much more well rounded keeper than Robles, so I will go for him in goal. I'll start of with him as a normal GK.

Add for TI:s I have pretty much no idea, so I'm pretty much gonna leave it blank. A balanced mentality and no TI:s except for one. I know that this I a seriously bottom heavy formation. For me this means that I'm gonna be relying on quick transitions. Therefore I will choose Counter in the transition settings.

All in all:


GK(d): Pau Lopes

Left FB(s): Lo Celso (get further forward)

Left CD(d): Sidnei

Central BPD(Co): Bartra

Right CD(d): Mandi 

Right FB(s): Joaquin (get further forward)

Left DM(s): Javi Garcia (shoot less often)

Right VOL(a): Carvalho

Left IW(a): Tello  (roam from position, sit narrower)

Right IW(a): Guardado (roam from position, sit narrower)

Central ENG: Canales.


Now I have no idea whether this is gonna work at all... I'm likely looking at the sack before Christmas, but let's give it a go and try to adjust as we go. Hopefully we're gonna attack roughly in a 3-4-3 shape or even 3-3-4 if the VOL is aggressive enough.

Oh, lastly I put some love on the set pieces. I have three CB:s and two reasonably large DM:s, so let's use it. I pretty much put them as close to the far post as possible, tell my taker to put the ball towards the far post and leave Canales lurking outside the area. Hopefully we'll see some decent headers or second ball goals from that...


Edited by Klfh
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2 hours ago, Armistice said:

We’re allowed to sell/buy players, right?

Limited to 2 incoming transfers and 1 incoming loan - you can sell as many as you want.

Tis all in the opening post buddy :brock:

Will get the rest of the formations allocated now and maybe even get a look at mine today

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