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An ode to simpler simpler times - an attempt to maintain the simplicity of FM

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The background

The predecessor to this thread, Jambo's thread from a few years ago (FM15 I believe) at the time addressed some of the same issues we see year after year on this forum and the wider community, about FM being too bloated in terms of being able to succeed and overachieve casually. You only have to see polls of what version of FM is people's favourite to verify this, and consistently FM12 is up there, where all you needed to do was play through the middle and sign Carlos Fierro. Whilst this was fun, it was not a sustainable ME.

I'm not really a fan of playing FM in a 'complex' manner and that's just a personal opinion that I know will prevent me from achieving any kind of mini-max results on this game. I love blitzing through seasons at speed, whilst watching the games to make any small subs/shouts I need to give my team an extra 'umph'. There are some amazing threads on these forums and youtube which details how to play in an in-depth manner, and depth this content goes into is incredible. But it's just not for me.

The tactical interface on FM has gone through some changes in recent years, and not for the best. Team mentality and individual control of mentalities being taken away was a backwards step from SI, I believe in the hope of simplifying the tactical creation process for many. 

So let's put that to the test.

The premise

I have had a pretty successful save so far as Kingstonian. Bringing them from the 7th tier to PL football on a shoestring. After 3 long hard grueling seasons in the Championship (playing against yoyo clubs that just casually buy players like this during the January window for 30 mill!) we finally achieved promotion via the play offs. 

The goal

Is to overachieve with the lowest salary in the league, and stay in the premier league.



The disclaimer

Copying this directly from the other thread. This is not a thread to "prove" that we can have success with more passive management. I am not out to say "see, told you that you could" - Mainly because i dont know that it is possible. It is entirely possible i will fail and be sacked by mid season, or have a mediocre year and end up falling below expectations because I didn't manage the tactics. It's a "let's see" type of thread.


Edited by JDeeguain
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Pre-Season 27/28

If anyone has done the non-league to PL route before, you know that the path is littered with loans and 1-2 year contracts and player turnover is crazy. This all changes when you reach the top tier, when only 2 long term loans are allowed at any time. So it's time to build a squad with the aim of surviving in the PL in a simplistic tactical way.

Initial Tactical Framework

We blitzed through the leagues playing 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 aggressive variants (surprise surprise). For the purpose of this thread, I wanted to change things up slightly with the huge odds stacked against our team to survive on only a 16m per year salary.



I'm looking to play simple, not innovative. This is why I've gone for a pressing setup, but not the ultra aggressive kind you may see with many tactics around the forums. I respect the huge gulf in quality that my team has individually against the opposition in this league, so I want to restrict them in terms of their D-Line and creative freedom. I want short, low tempo low risk passes, with the option to break if it's on. Counter Press being on is something I may or may not change, but I've taken the decision to leave it on, but may review when away to the top sides.

The roles are also simple, generic roles which lines up with the ethos of the thread. I don't want to change this at all ideally throughout the season, so a good balance is maintained between D/S/A roles.

I want my flanks super compact to make up for the space between AML/R and RB/L, so I expect my full backs to support the attack in a more controlled manner (hence FB/S roles) and be ready to drop back if a break begins. I want the main attacking threat of my side to come from the flanks whilst my core focuses on their individual roles. 

My striker won't score 30 goals (or even 20). His job is to receive the ball and wait for support from the AMs and CM/A to allow the team to break quickly once the ball is won.

My DLP and CBs will be the defensive trio of the side and I hope they will stay compact with each other from being on the same mentality, dropping the DLP to DM is something I will need to consider if we're getting pummeled (especially as I am not pushing up the D-Line). I accept this to be a weakness of this system, but it's something I'm willing to accept if we can get results. 


Oh boy.

The day after the play off final I began mass scouting to find players to form my premier league squad with. Then, takeover started and we had a transfer emargo until the beginning of July. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either. The new Chairman gave us £36M to fund our survival. 

Goalkeeper - We stayed loyal to last season's keeper Neil Baxter, mainly due to a lack of finding anything better. I like two competitive keepers in my squads, so I still brought in Will Huffer from Notts Forest for 475k.

Right Back - I want defenders good mentally in order to maintain our discipline in the press. This is why I signed 32 year old Luchinger from St. Gallen to play right back this season, before his physicals nose dive. He has a good rounded attribute base which I like in my sides, and 14 for concentration is especially important for me when we will be up against it for the majority of the season. Club captain Gibbons stays to deputize and provide cover on the other side.

Left Back - Abdu Conte joins us from Portuguese outfit Moreirense for £1.7m. Like Luchinger, provides solid all round attributes defensively as well as some good PPMs for making use of his crossing ability and getting up the pitch where needed. Last season's left back George Cox is not good enough for this level but stays as cover for another season.

Center Back - Only addition is Carlos Vigaray from Zaragoza for £1.1m. By no means a great center back, but will possesses some solid all round attributes which can get us through this season. Last seasons duo of Dacoba and Famewo both stay on to fight for the other starting berth, but both lack good mentals for the increased defensive work they will encounter at this level.

DLP - Zanellato joins us from Crotone on a free transfer to compete with 650k signing Nteka. The former will probably start in games where we expect we may be able to nick something, the latter against the top sides due to his one footedness and better mentals. 

CM - Tottenham wonderkid Chris Naylor extends his loan for another season, two footed and has all the mentals to play the style I want. Diego Batista joins for £1.2m and can cover all central midfield roles.

CM/A - Gaetano joins on a free from Genoa alongside Josh Sims who will be retrained to play this role.

AMR -  Our second loanee is Lukasz from Man City, who has all the attributes to cause any defence in the league problems and can cover at CM/A.

AML - Tiziano Remy becomes our club record signing at £5.25m from Charleroi. Deputizing will be our starter from last season Omotoye.

ST - Kun....Temenuzhkov. Hoping for a similar impact to his namesake, but his job is mainly to put in a shift, link up with his teammates and if he can score 10-15 goals in the process even better.


Total Transfer Outlay - £18.5m

Edited by JDeeguain
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August 2027

Kingstonian 1-0 Brighton - A great start to life in the Premier League. A well worked goal ended up with wonderkid Naylor hitting home.

Cardiff 2-0 Kingstonian - Pretty poor display, Cardiff took advantage of set pieces but we didn't look threatening at all.

Kingstonian 0-0 Man City - Huge result for us. Turning off Counter Press seemed to make us more solid at the back.

Kingstonian 2-0 Cheltenham (Carabao Cup) - Decided to keep the starting XI to develop partnerships. Comfortable win even if the scoreline doesn't suggest.

Arsenal 3-2 Kingstonian - Really good display here. Arsenal were too good but we were clinical on the break especially.


Only tactical change so far has been turning off Counter Press to the balanced option. 

We're 19th in Chances Created which is a bit concerning, but I'll allow for the players to blend some more before making changes.

8th in possession and 7th in chance conversion are both promising, we're holding onto the ball and the small chances we're creating are good ones. 

Edited by JDeeguain
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Thanks @Djuicer!

September 2027

Kingstonian 2-0 Watford

Everton 1-0 Kingstonian

Kingstonian 0-0p Man City

Kingstonian 2-1 Luton

October 2027

Man Utd 0-1 Kingstonian

Kingstonian 1-1 Bournmouth

Norwich 1-2 Kingstonian

Kingstonian 2-2 Newcastle

November 2027

Leciester City 2-2 Kingstonian

Kingstonian 0-1 Chelsea

Southampton 1-0 Kinstonian

December 2027

West Ham 0-0 Kingstonian

Kingstonian 2-2 Wolves

Aston Villa 1-3 Kingstonian

Kingstonian 1-1 Liverpool

Tactical Changes

I pushed up the D-Line and Tempo. We were simply creating next to no chances (ranked 19th in the league for chances) in our current setup. We moved our DLP from defensive to support in order for our midfield to become more compact and creative whilst not pushing too aggressively (another reason why the D-Line was raised). The IF are now on attack duty. Since we are giving our players no creative freedom, I want to be more strict on what they should do, our Striker was far too isolated at times and I am willing sacrifice some defensive stability on the flanks in order for us to become more potent. The Striker is now a False 9 to complement our IF making runs in behind. I removed Low Crosses (as we had the worst cross accuracy in the league) and have instead asked my players to mix it up, as it can't be any worse than what we're currently doing.

As always, there's no PIs used here for the ethos of this thread. I am letting the role dictate what the player does (Be More Disciplined) and giving them more strict instruction as we are the worst team in this league on paper.


This is perhaps now my base tactic for the rest of the season. I like how it plays and the results we're getting, as we're now quite comfortable:


What has been really enjoyable this season has been our composure in front of goal (something that FM20 has been lambasted about), our conversion rate has been the key factor to our success


This along with our sot ratio of 51% shows that we create good chances.

Of course, the big test is now that we're pretty much at mid season, we can see how the AI adjusts to our tactic. The tactic is designed to be something that we don't overly change due to it's balanced nature, so this is a big test for simplicity going forward.

Edited by JDeeguain
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