Vanarama South, 7 Perfect Tutors and £1.25B of debt…
I always find myself 4-5 seasons into FM with all the best players and too much money, but a board who insist I must spend it on wages and transfers rather than facilities and a stadium. So I thought I’d use the editor to do it the other way round and create a 15 season challenge, explaining the situation with a satire on the way the media and fan groups portray foreign owners, and with a little guide to tutoring.
In the summer of 2013, Eastbourne Borough, playing in the Vanarama South, were the subject of a takeover by a wealthy Qatari businessman, who saw the development of a club low down the English pyramid as a way to circumvent financial fair play rules. He invested heavily in the club’s facilities; building a Premier League standard training complex, improving the youth facilities and building the new 100,000 seater Oryx stadium (due to be completed in time for the upcoming season).
Two nearby clubs, Leatherhead and Maidstone, became Eastbourne’s feeders, and have also benefitted from stadium and facility upgrades, as well as suspiciously over-inflated stadium sponsorship deals.
The new owner also brought in an exciting young Qatari prospect; Malik Abubakar, who he believed would qualify for European Citizenship through his Russian mother.
However, it looked just a matter of time before Abubakar would earn the sufficient number of international caps to be eligible for a work permit.
Despite the apparent bright future for Eastbourne Borough, there were a few ‘improvements’ which the fans did not agree with- A change of kit colour, and the dropping of ‘Borough’ from the club’s name.
After an unremarkable first season, the new era was cut short when the owner was mauled to death by his second wife's third tiger, leaving the club with the monumental bill for outstanding payments on the facilities and stadium.
Local businessman and fan Owen Mutch has since taken over the club in an attempt to save it from administration, and has managed to consolidate the debts into one easy monthly payment to be paid back over 16 years. Eastbourne will now need successive promotions to take them to the prize of Premier League TV money if they are to survive, as well as success in lucrative cup fixtures, and significant earnings through player sales. The total amount to pay back, including interest agreed during the restructuring, is £1.25 Billion.
As a gesture to the fans, Mutch has brought back the old kit, but has not reverted to the old name, as that is not currently a priority, considering the financial position.
All former players have since been released (and Abubakar sold back to his former club), and Mutch has brought in seven dedicated local athletes, with winning mentalities, but understandably unimpressive technical skills (considering they haven’t played football professionally before). Mutch believes these players have the personality and influence to be an example to young players. He has also brought in a few decent young players from local clubs. All players currently at the club are not expected to progress beyond Sky Bet Championship ability.
Mutch has also put together a very competent and diverse scouting and coaching team, of which he believes you are the final piece.
Should you accept, you will be required to guide the club to successive promotions, nurturing and selling young players on a shoestring budget.
Download a save game from here as well as your scout’s longlist of available players who he believes has the potential to play in the championship or higher: http://1drv.ms/1DDvbon
Buying and contracting players
In the first transfer window, there are a lot of good young players available - use Luc’s shortlist! I recommend signing 15-20 of them. But get in quick. Look out for players wanted by championship clubs in this first window, as they tend to have very high potential. To secure one of these, just keep offering a little bit more signing on/agent fee until they say ‘thats very acceptable’. Feel free to start again once you know which players you want (the other teams all know which players they want before the game starts anyway)
Obviously use your academy, and keep an eye on the players from your feeders’ academies. If a player requests a youth contract, offer him a full time contract on £80p/w for as many years as permitted, and a one year extension after 5 games. They should always accept. I normally wait until they turn 18 before offering their next contract as they cannot sign five year deals before then.
Use contract extension clauses if you aren’t sure about a player, or if their agent locks the length of their contract to 2-3 years. Generally aim for five year contracts, or those that can be extended to five.
Optional extension and extension after league game clauses are mutually exclusive; if one is activated, the other is cancelled.
Time your contract talks:
If you know a player is about to get a run in the side, offer a contract first, before he considers himself an expensive first team player.
You can offer five year deals to players over 18 from the 2nd April. Offers before then can only be 4 years.
First team player demands skyrocket once you achieve promotion to the championship. Get them on long term deals before them.
Reject agent requests. Tell the players they have plenty of time left.
Don’t bother giving any of the clubs starting players new contracts when they ask- they all have a one year extension deal too.
Avoid paying more than £75k for a player, and avoid contracts over £750 p/w
Scout Northern Ireland and Wales in February and March, as some good cheap players may appear. Also scout England in March as a few decent and cheap players from the conference and below should show up (oddly they seem to dry up after a few years).
There is a small chance that a load of good free Scottish 15-16 year olds will appear each March who have never had a club. Celtic tend to be very interested (will often pay £2M-3M) in these players a few years down the line. I’ve only seen one or two English clubless players appear. Worth looking our for though. Once you get to championship you will be able to find more of these no-club players from around Europe. Scout them out.
Always negotiate a transfer fee with a club rather than approach to sign - it’ll work out cheaper- and obviously don’t offer sell on clauses.
Some good young players are released by clubs each July, but tend to have high wage demands. I wouldn’t recommend signing any of these players over the age of 18 unless they are good enough to get in your team, as development slows at 19 if they aren’t playing.
Keep basic wage low and be more generous with signing on and agent fees- this makes it easier to move players on. Also set your transfer budget as high as possible and wage budget as low as possible, as agents for some reason know your wage and transfer budget, and will request more money if your wage budget is high.
Always lock out yearly and promotion wage rise clauses
Despite all the debt, your club does have something priceless: Your 7 tutors have the personality of ‘Model Citizens’. They have the following hidden stats (on a scale of 1-20), all of which can be passed on to tutees:
Ambition: 20 (affects how quickly players develop)
Controversy: 1 (Yes, 1 is definitely least controversial)
Determination: 20 (not hidden- good indicator of how tutoring is going)
Professionalism: 20 (affects how quickly players develop)
You can tutor players up until the age of 23, provided they aren’t a regular in the first team or have a higher reputation or squad status than your tutor.
Increasing a players ambition and professionalism increases how quickly he will develop. You also have the opportunity to create a new generation of model citizens who can tutor when your current crop has retired. This will normally take 2-3 years of tutoring to completely pass on these stats and will be reflected when the players personality in the info panel is ‘Model Citizen’. If you want to do this:
Pick a high potential but low ability player. This means you have more time to tutor the player before he gets better than the tutee, at which point he can no longer be tutored. I would recommend trying to make your new model citizens right at the start. The players on the shortlist who are wanted by championship clubs (especially Blackpool, Brentford, Ipswich, Leeds and Wolves) are normally very high potential.
Rarely if ever play him- Leave him in the reserves. This will slow his development so you can pass on the personality before he gets too good. Also, if he plays too many games he is considered an established squad member and can’t be tutored.
Initiate tutoring from the Tutee’s player screen, not the Tutor’s. The player you want to tutor may not be amongst the three options on the Tutor’s player screen. Go to Player> Development> Training and pick your tutor at the bottom of the screen.
Don’t loan them out until you’re finished as this will cancel the tutoring.
One tutoring session takes 6 months, and the tutor needs a 1 month break afterwards, so note the date the tutoring ends so you can start again as soon as possible.
If you want the tutor to pass on preferred moves as well as personality, use the ‘improve his game’ tutor option. If you don’t want to pass on ppms, choose the ‘mentor off the pitch option. They have the same effect on personality but the players for some reason respond better at the end of tutoring to the ‘improve his game’ option (note that this feedback doesn’t reflect how much his personality has improved).
Save before you ask a player to tutor- if the tutee or tutor refuses, he won’t speak to you about tutoring for months. Also I’d recommend saving often during the tutoring as for some reason they will randomly fall out, regardless of how well the tutoring is going. This is the only area of the game I feel comfortable saving and reloading, as you have no option to reconcile tutor and tutee, and you still can’t tutor again until the six months is up. It’s an area I feel is unrealistic (not that passing on a quantified personality is realistic)
Don’t tutor the players who are at the club at the start of the game- they are ambitious and professional enough to develop quickly already, but their potential is too low for them to be your new model citizens; by the time they are old enough to tutor, they won’t be able to get into your first team.
Setting your New Model Citizens an asking price of £40m should deter any bids for them. If they ever talk to you about joining a big club, tell them ‘It’s all hypothetical’. At £40m it will remain ‘all hypothetical’
Never promise them first team football or a loan. Use every other excuse. They are more likely to request these as their ambition increases.
Your next generation of model citizens will be able to tutor young players when they turn 24 and a have a squad status of First Team or Key Player.
Offering players to clubs rarely if ever works. You will get much better prices by waiting for bids to come in.
Set asking prices! Players below League 1 will rarely receive a bid of over £1M unless you set an asking price
Always negotiate a 50% percentage of next sale clause. These can prove very useful after a few years. Other clubs don’t seem to mind you slipping these in.
Get rid of the appearance/goals clauses they offer you. Negotiate guaranteed payment
Clubs may offer you more money if you accept payments in instalments. Good idea if you already have a lot of money in the bank and don’t want your club to make a payout to shareholders or set your transfer budget too high (agents for some reason know your transfer and wage budgets and will demand money accordingly)
This normally works:
Bid comes in: £500k up front, £500k after 50 league appearances
Negotiate £500k up front, £500k over 24 months. 50% next sale.
Don’t expect too much interest in your players until the summer you achieve promotion to League 2.
Use your feeders. They have good training facilities and coaches, so they are good for sending players on loan to. On the player screen, go to >Development >Move to Affiliate.
Avoid sending players on loan to clubs without at least ‘good’ training facilities, as they will develop slower here (even with playing time) than at your own club.
Don’t loan players from other clubs- you are denying one of your own players first team experience. The only exception is if you only have one goalkeeper, or if you have a sell on clause on a player-you can loan him to improve his ability and value for when he is sold on.
Prioritise League Cup and FA Cup. You should breeze through the first couple of seasons in the league, so rest your best players before cup games, as they generate a lot of much needed cash if you make the latter stages of the competition, through prize money, TV rights and gate receipts.
Keep an eye on your finances. Don’t spend for the sake of spending. If your balance goes too low, you may be subjected to a board takeover, and may get a more interfering chairman, who accepts bids on your behalf. You will also experience a transfer embargo during this takeover period, and you risk the new chairman firing you.
As for your own stats, I would choose tactical manager, as you already have good coaches at the club. I chose National A license and Professional Footballer (National Level) but make it easier or harder for yourself if you want. I’d recommend high stats for man-management and discipline.
Let me know how you get on. Use this format if you like:
Highest attendance : (and date, competition and opponent)
Board Takeover (Y/N):
New Model Citizens: (How many have you brainwashed- not including the original tutors)
I'm not too fussed, the challenge is really just survival rather than competing with other players. Start again as often as you want. Be as strict as is fun for you. If you really want, don't manage Eastbourne and just watch them rot!
As far as forum rules go, feel free to player-name on this thread, but don’t mention which save game you started with (they're all from the same editor data, but some players have variable values which change from new game to new game)