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  1. [FM18] McBride - Skeid & Beyond

    31 May 2018 Skeid - 5th - Norwegian Second Division Group 1 We're getting into the early season fixtures now, and we've had some mixed fortune. We're still learning about the squad and players as we go. My whole approach to telling this story is to be more about the players and the events, rather than just rattling off the results and how we went. It's about the ride we're all going on - or indeed the 'story'. Impressive Performers Mohammed Mahnin [MC] - This guy loves orchestrating the play from midfield and has created a bunch of great chances already this season! Mansour Gueye [DC] - Has gone that extra mile imo. Just works a little harder and gives a little more and it feels good having him there. Morten Berre [AM] - He's scored 5 goals and has 1 assist, but he's creating a lot of our chances. If we had a little more polish this guy would be our assist leader. Depressing Performers Kevin Mankowitz [MC] - Has been given a lot of work to do, and doesn't get it done consistently enough. Turns over the ball a lot. Mesut Can [AM] - We're trying to find a way to get the most from him, but while everyone else is firing he's still stuck in the blocks. Emil Fiskvik [GK] - Not that bad, but I'm starting to think he's not up to the standard here. The Challenging Cup We lasted a valiant 52 minutes against the Molde onslaught. Actually it wasn't too bad. By the end they had 8 shots on target to our 2, and while we were under no illusions that we could have beaten the Premier League team it wasn't a complete slaughter. Once they scored it was probably only a matter of time until they scored again. We rested a couple of players in the 2nd half and their reserves are basically as good as their starters; and stole the 2nd goal late on. That 1 degree chill though brrrrr! Second Division - Top Half Start It was a tough start to the league, and despite finding our feet a little it still feels like we're playing a bit of catch-up with the leaders. 5th is still pretty good though. No team has won more than 5 of their first 8 and no team is undefeated. It's going to be a tight division! I also don't fancy coming in here every month or two for 'updates' and just posting the fixtures and talking through each result. I typically like coming and talking about things that changed and things that happened - and in the time when we're talking about them and not the results, you can assume "more of the same" is the answer. Having said that - since we're getting started and making rather whole-scale changes, here's our first 8 league matches. You'll see the fairly distinct change after our first two losses, where we suddenly stopped conceding goals. Some of that may have been our opponents (both KFUM Oslo and Asker sit above us on the ladder currently), but we also made a change to the formation/strategy again. Formation & Tactics - v1.3 It wasn't just the quality of opposition that made us look bad in the early rounds. We found a few problems that our strategy just wouldn't fix. As always the masterplan on paper sounds nice, but the reality of pulling it off in real time can be difficult. We were struggling to hold up the ball in the attacking 3rd - Tavakoli was getting swamped by defenders, DM's etc... Berre was struggling to have an impact - personally he was struggling to get central enough and even with the ball he only had the Target Man to aim at. He needed options and didn't have them. No bodies in the box - even if we did get free, with just 1 man to aim at it was easy for sides to break us down. Not enough technical skills in MC's & FB's to patiently hold possession - in these divs you will make a mistake if you don't do anything with your possession. Mostly we'd get stuck in the midfield and would lose the ball trying to play an advanced pass or running into the space behind the Target Man. With the 3-man central midfield it also meant our fullbacks didn't find as much space and our MC's also tended to get dragged wide when defending - which meant teams would charge through the centre of the park against us. To combat we rolled back into a 4-2-3-1, but with a few subtle differences. Tactic-wise The aim is to get the ball into our MC's and AMC to run the attack. They'll be looking to distribute to our wingers - but we're not playing full attacking wingers. If we spray the ball wide early, our wings know to come inside and look for balls to our central pair. With the AMC overlapping the Target Man sometimes it gives us extra bodies to play balls through to. We're focusing less on direct passing and more on working harder to find opportunities with the pass. We got stuck plenty just hovering the right side of halfway with no idea of how to progress. That leads to bad dribbling choices from deep in midfield and sometimes shots. To stop that from happening we've told the players that they need to work hard to get into the box to take shots, but we've also given them more licence to look for risky passes and play more creative football. Hopefully the two will balance out a bit. Personnel-wise The main one is moving Berre central. I just had one of those moments where upon reflection it was so obvious that we should play our star playmaker in the middle and let him steer the ship. No matter where he played his career or what he likes to do now - for us he'll be too good no matter where he plays, so lets get him into a role where he can be our primary threat. We hired the right back Hamutenya - he's a 24yr old wingback. Not neccessarily the best defensive player, nor the fittest or fastest fullback to get up and down the flanks, but what do get is a guy with a good head on him and I feel confident he'll contribute to our side offensively - be that giving our MC's an outlet or looking for the passes to our attacking quartet. There are 2 players so far playing absolutely horrible - they've phased out of the starting lineup: I'm not even entirely sure what is up with Mankowitz. Maybe what those stats don't tell is that he's missing tackles and headers he should be winning? He hasn't been totally horrible, but a string of average performances capped off by just 1-2 shockers makes for bad ratings. As the formation changed though, it was easy to fill in for these guys. Rongved is playing reasonably well in the midfield roles (and now we've gone down from 3 to 2 MC's he wants a spot), and with Berre moving to AMC, Can finds himself as a kind of AMC/ST hybrid who doesn't really suit the winger roles. He stats don't seem that bad, but keep in mind that we're scoring more than 2 goals per game, so ALL our attacking players look good. I've seen Can miss a number of opportunities which contributes to his dropping ratings despite the side turning it around recently.
  2. [FM18] McBride - Skeid & Beyond

    12 April 2017 Skeid - Norwegian Second Division Group 1 It has been a little while, but we've had some work to do grinding through friendlies and adapting our formation. Pre-Season Friendlies We started with a pretty rough run, but managed to get on a bit of a roll towards the back end. We were so bad to begin with we lost the intra-squad friendly, haha! And we generally had trouble scoring. But now we're starting to see improvement in guys like Berre, Can and Steinbakk-Olsen (who I think I'm going to have to nick name "SOlsey" because that's a mouthful to say). It also helps that Tavakoli is on fire - he had a couple of matches with a minor injury, but since he's been back playing full time, he's scored 7 goals in 4 matches! Mind you, that is a pretty big reversal of fortunes. What changed?! Pre-Season Formation The short answer is that we changed formation. We were trying to push the ball directly towards Can & Tavakoli, but found that was all we could do - we weren't able to find the passes through an opponents midfield line and get to our wingers. Teams could just condense their midfield and squeeze us out. Then we'd turnover and get snapped on the break. This is kind of a complete mentality change - before we wanted to be sharp and concise with our direct route to goal, and would rely on strong passing and more movement in our front third. Hopefully we're still capturing the spirit of giving our attacking players room to move (there's even more room now), but we're adapting away from the direct passing game to hold the ball a bit more. We are quite literally telling Mankowitz and Rongved to sit deep in midfield behind the play, and then it's up to Mahnin to look for the killer pass. The change also allows our fullbacks to push forward more for overlaps - when you're playing direct you don't really have the time for that option, but when you're operating a more possession-based game you naturally give them more opportunities to push up. Formation Notes: <> We abandoned sitting deeper as well - all that was doing was making too much space between the MC's and the DC's and without any DM's it was a problem. <> Berre's preferred positions/role changed. I'm not 100% certain what it was, but it seems that just 1-2 small skill changes have pushed him over the edge - such that he's no longer comfortable playing the roaming Raumdeuter role. He's actually showing as 'awkward' for the role now. I don't really mind - he's getting older and it's a high-mobility kind of role - if he's not comfortable with it we don't need to make him do it. At the time he was so good, had 1 role he excelled at, and we just let him do it. But now he's kind of 'accomplished' at most of the AMR roles, so we felt it best to give him the one that suited our strategy best. He's already scored a couple of goals drifting in and slipping between the defenders so I think it's coming good. <> Rongved is playing a CM role. I don't use this often, but he doesn't quite have the vision to operate as a playmaker, and I'm a little worried about his work rate as a Ball-Winner or Box-2-Box midfielder. This way he can make use of his defensive skills without the pressure of extra roles or duties. **Having said that, I made the lad our captain** <> There's a slight skewed kind of set up here as well for what it's worth. That's kind of deliberate. Since Berre's natural tendency is to slip inside and Solsey on the left prefers to go wide, it's a deliberate move to have Mankowitz sit deeper than Rongved. Because if the fullbacks push up, there's plenty of support between the AML and DL, but if Berre on the right drifts inside, we need the MCR to advance a bit more to support him. For now we've got Rongved on "Defense" duties, but depending on how often we find our DR up there, we might change MCR to "Support" and let him drift a little more (right now he's on "Hold Position"). Club Transfers: Noteably it's "club" transfers and not "player transfers". A couple of Premier Division clubs have come swooping for our key staff members. Ormbostad moved up in the world after 11 years with the club (6 as a player, 5 as a scout) - it's kind of bittersweet. I like seeing folks at our club going on to bigger and brighter things, but it's a shame to see an important club fixture like Erlend leave. Ostreng was actually our Director of Football - so that's a fairly good challenge for him. In FM18 the skills for DoF and Chief Scout are fairly similar - to me it seems strange that it is so and it could be done better by the game. I won't go into all the reasons why here (maybe if someone wants I can do some more research and elaborate?) - but I believe they're two fairly distinct roles for two fairly unique purposes. We let those two go without much of a fight, mostly because we were able to secure around 70k in compensation. We're spending around 40k in player & staff wages per month right now, so this goes a long way to keeping us afloat financially - something I'm beginning to think will be a challenge this season. Let's put this into perspective another way. 70k compensation for 2 staff members versus our sponsors: The other take-away from this for our club is that we're going to play without a Director of Football this season. It'll be a new experience for Edro, but hopefully with a smaller club it won't be too much of an issue. Contracts & Fullbacks When we first started, we had a handful of players on non-contract deals. That's not uncommon for semi-pro teams and player retention is not always a priority. In our case though, with 0 knowledge of local talent and no shortlist to think of (at the time, only 1 scout as well!) we had to go out of our way to lock down some key contracts. This is from when we first started - 13 Feb. As you can see Gueye and Tavakoli were already 'wanted' by other clubs. We had to put down good money to keep them (Tavakoli is our 2nd highest paid player now, after Berre, for example). That was fine, except then we couldn't do the same for both our right fullbacks. The player we had penned in for that gig was Ridouan Essaeh and he got snapped up by a First Division team (he's on more money than Tavakoli despite being just 19 years old, for some perspective). Then his backup Ayoub Aleesami was offered a deal as well - we could have interjected, but I decided it was time to find another fullback. As you'll see above we have a trialist at Right Back now. We've been trialling a few players actually - we're starting to build up a little knowledge bank of local players, and some free agents. But we haven't got enough scouts to properly scout them all. If we can get players to come to for a trial for 2 weeks, we can basically learn all their skills and maybe even give them a run in friendlies to gauge if they're good enough for the team. Right now we have 3 trialists: - Sekwat; 19yr old DC who was just let go from a Prem club. - Ali; 21yr old DM who has been on the fringes of 2nd Div and 1st Div footy clubs, but hasn't quite broken through. - Hamutenya; 24 yr old wingback, who actually was brought to England through Bolton's academy, but moved to 1st Div Norway and got 3 good seasons of First XI footy there before being let go. We're kind of hoping that he's a bit more experienced and can be a part of the first XI here, while the other trialists are really just backups for now. Conclusions / Cup And I think that's just about everything that's been happening. We're facing Molde in the Cup, lead by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - the club probably in the top 5 in Norway if we go based on reputation, recent performances and financial stature. So that's probably the end of our Cup already, haha. But for us the priority is the league, and making sure we're getting the best of our players. Hopefully this starts to run a bit more smoothly now we're into the competitive fixtures too. I don't fancy waiting another 3 weeks before another update!
  3. [FM18] McBride - Skeid & Beyond

    13 February 2017 Skeid Ok this should be the last 'set up' style of post and then we'll get on with the show. Staffing I was going to just pick this up and explain as we go, but since you tend to just hire staff annually there would never be a proper time. The decisions you make for staffing are really a reflection on your management style so I think it's worthwhile taking a minute to explore what Staff roles we fill and who we fill them with. First up we don't have managers for our 2nd team and U19's. I know you can get by without, but honestly I like those sides to run with a fair bit of autonomy, which starts with them having dedicated managers. Our Assistant Manager is Player/Manager Berre, so we're already being mindful of the cost to the club - and for mine, dedicated Managers for each side is key. Our search was for Norway-based managers only. We could have looked around Scandinavia, but we're just looking to sign Amateur deals and I didn't fancy risking overseas signings just to get a few extra attribute points in there. For the Skeid 2 Manager, we decided to go for the best, appropriate trainer. There are times when the best coach is important, times when you're relying on this guy to be a bit of a pseudo scout or assistant manager to you by giving advice on players in the ressies, and there are times like now where it's not about knowing who the best players are (that responsibility pretty much falls upon Edro at this juncture), it's more to do with getting the best out of the players we have. So this is a good excuse to pick up a great trainer. Our option is 40yr old Tor Trondsen, who has managing experience already. For the Youth Manager role (above) we were admittedly short on options. Sometimes when you're stuck, it's worthwhile pitching for the younger staff members - like younger players they have a propensity to grow as a club member. So instead of trying to tally up attributes and to try and make trade-offs between much-of-a-muchness kind of candidates, we found the guy who's reasonable at working with youths, reasonable at judging their skills & potential, reasonable at training and is young enough to improve given time. Don't get me to say his name 3 times fast, but welcome to Halvor Stormoen Raddum. We're not going to go through every staff role, but we'll look into the scouting section momentarily. First I wanted to mention that we're not running any kind of Data Analysis Centre, nor do we have any Data folks. Similarly we're not into the field of Sports Science yet either. It will be fairly interesting to see the changes if & when we pick up those kind of roles. I'll consider it quite the milestone when we're allowed to sign some more staff like this. We're going to sign Egil as the Chief Scout. Once again it was practical to sign a local manager and he's reasonable for general scouting. It probably doesn't mean anything for his role, but I'll admit him being "Fairly Ambitious" seems to match the ideals we're trying to instil during our time here. Scouting I'm still learning the new scouting set-up in FM18. I probably enjoy the scouting and research side of the game a little too much. I have been known to spend hours manually clicking through teams and players and trying to analyse if it's worth sending scouts to get me more feedback or not; trying to apply both objective and subjective logic to whether we should sign players; and trying to forever unearth those diamonds in the rough - not necessarily always 'wonderkids', but guys who are essentially superstars for your particular club. Overall I'm hoping that we'll learn and grow our scouting efforts over time, and we can look into this more and more, and discuss details on how and why and where we're scouting, and who we're using to scout, and which players we're looking at etc... For now it should be noted that the Board allows us to scout within our home Country (Norway). Getting our packages upgraded will be a fairly high priority for us this season, but I'm not keen to rush into it without having a few months of financial reports spread out in front of us. Our Scouting budget is 5.5k per annum and this tells us we're spending 1.3k this season on Second Division only scouting. Basic math tells us that we can probably afford an upgrade to both youth AND senior packages - since we're unlikely to experience extra costs from scouting outside our range - but I still would err on the side of caution. I think a realistic goal would be to upgrade that Senior package. I know we touted a youth-based focus, but it's tough to be planning ahead by more than a season while we're still an amateur club. We'll struggle to lock down teenage talent for the time we need them here for to become stars. A better plan for the short term is to get eyes on the First Division and see what kind of players are getting let go there, to see if we can find good players and turn their careers around. Once we have an established knowledge base of guys we could potentially call upon for our starting side, we'll look at what we can do for bringing in some future-prospect signings.
  4. [FM18] McBride - Skeid & Beyond

    13 February 2017 Skied - The Team Probably long overdue considering I started actually writing this a couple of weeks ago (I mocked up that first post a few days before I ended up posting it), but we've started looking at the players and we're preparing to actually advance the game! Formation & Strategy That's how we're going to go after it to start. We will naturally adjust and adapt as we get going, but a fairly common, fairly simple, direct passing kind of 4-2-3-1. Ultimately it's pretty offensive even without an 'attacking' mentality and I'm kind of hoping we can score plenty of goals this way. As for Edro not preferring such 'modern' styles - in this case we haven't had too much chance to really start building the squad we want. For now we'll stick with what the current players are good at, and we'll work our way forward into new methods in the future. Key Personnel There are a few important players in the squad that are worth a mention. I suspect as we get going we'll get more of a feeling for the stars of the team, but there are a couple of guys that (for now) form the cornerstone of our strategy. Morten Berre Sometimes a player is just so good, that you don't worry about where he fits in your system - you change the system to fit him! That's basically what we've done here with Berre. He's just that cut above the rest of the squad - defined by his international cap - and even with his age (he's 41!!) he's probably still the fittest player in the squad. That's incredible! On the park we're going to let him play the roaming playmaker who drifts in from the wing. Our overall passing strategy is fairly direct, so I'm hoping we play into Berre on most of our attacks, and then he takes players on or looks to play in our other options. He's fairly adept across the whole attack line as well - so if we find we need to swap him over to the left and use him more like an Inside Forward, cutting in to get on his right foot, that's definitely an option as well. How does a club like ours secure a talent like that? It's because he started his career here - 22 years ago! He was here when we used to still be in the Norwegian Premier League in 1996 & 1997 and aside from a half a season in Germany, he's always played at home. It's incredible that he's only 2nd in the list here. Again, keep in mind that these are Norwegian Premier League caps - so these are seemingly immortal players who were on top of their game for over 20 years! Side note: Not one of the players in that list is a Goalkeeper either! The little stories like these are why I love finding lesser-known clubs and absorbing their history! Every club has their own moments, their own icons and their own history, and it's a joy to learn and essentially live in the shoes of a club member. David Tavakoli The big Target Man leading the line for us, David has a surprisingly strong dribbling element so if he gets the chance to turn and push his way through with the ball at his feet I'll totally accept that. Some players are just naturally great no matter what you do with them, and some are really focused on just doing their job right. Tavakoli is the latter - naturally you don't want too much movement out of him.. just get in front of the defender and receive the ball. But that doesn't make him a bad or limited player - with the 3 AM's running off him and Berre nearby he's a great candidate to receive and feed out attacking players. And if our direct passing and fast counter breaks down, he's still a good target for crosses into the box. We don't have any other real options up front, so his stamina may play a part over the course of the season. Key Combinations FM18 presents us with squad dynamics and one function of that is team cohesion. To that end, there are a couple of combinations between players that I'm hoping really come to life this season. Kim & Tom Skogsrud Another really fun little story at the club, is the tale of the twin brothers Kim & Tom. They both started from the youth ranks at the club, they were both picked up by Manchester City as teenagers, they both had a gig at Rangers, and then they split for a few years to trial at other clubs before both of them returned together this season! Kim is a strong centre back with a level head who likes to stick to his man closely and muscle him out of the play. Tom is a speedster who's actually pretty well balanced for a defender in this league - he'll be happy going forward but also knows his main priority is making challenges and tracking his man. On the park they should give us a strong backline connection. I know FM doesn't specifically link the DC to the DL, but that's an imaginary link I think I'll remember. Using Tom as an outlet for Kim after the latter has won challenges makes this a great combination. Kevin Mankowitz & Mohammed Mahnin Our main midfield duo is going to have to do the bulk of the linking work between the attack and defence lines, but I wouldn't have put so much pressure on them if they weren't some of our most adept ball players. Funnily enough, yet again they are players who have just returned to the club after coming through the youth ranks. The two were actually recently combined at Grorud - also in 2nd Division Norway - so they should be well versed in each others' play style. Kevin is a bit more of a conservative battler who's good on the ball, fairly fit and patient & composed enough to just knock the ball around and keep possession. Mohammed is equally as skilled with a ball at his feet, but he has the flair & vision to pick the more attacking passes as needed. The two really are the perfect compliment in the centre, and as you can tell they're really hitting their prime football years to be in these key, proactive roles within the squad. Dynamics - Team Leaders I'm not really sure how valuable Day 1 Dynamics are, especially when it's clear a lot of our players are new signings for this season. But I thought this was an appropriate graphic to show off - just for the perspective on the players that we've already discussed. What I haven't mentioned to date is that Berre is also our Assistant Manager. So I'm thinking I actually won't make him captain as well - there needs to be some disconnect between the coaching staff and the playing staff. But you can see how the twins have just returned and are instantly respected as highly influential figures within the squad. Of the others there that haven't been mentioned - Gueye is Skogsrud's Central Defensive partner who's also quite big and strong, though maybe that leaves us a little slow at the back. Jens Rongved is a great younger (21) midfielder who will help share the fatigue burden with our central middies - he's got a bright future! The rest of the squad members and profiles will come over time. Formation & Strategy recap Now that we know a few of the key players, just a few comments to reiterate how our strategy works. We're not looking for long, lofty balls to our target man for players to run onto. We want players to make runs into space (see below left image) and to collect the direct passes, which hopefully pulls defensive players out of their structure and unsettles opposing backlines on the whole. For example Tavakoli may drop in next to the AM Can and will the central defence follow him (if they know Berre is lurking and drifting inside)? Then we're looking to basically 'drop off' the ball to players facing the right direction. Typically that will be Mankowitz and Mahnin, but it depends on who has the ball and which players have broken forward well. Tavakoli should have his pick of players to play back to and if Berre gets the ball he may well be good enough to be looking forward or back depending on how the fast-break is going. Strengths & Weaknesses (& risks) It's really difficult to measure your strengths and weaknesses without seeing the side in action. Instead I prefer to call them 'risks' until you know for sure what works and what doesn't work. The pace of our DC's is a risk, but if we play right maybe it's not a weakness at all. Maybe we find a way to sit deeper at the back and it doesn't hurt the rest of our strategy - then not a weakness at all! Point being, I measure the squad via Risk and not via strength & weakness. And just because all the risks are negative doesn't mean we hate our squad or are pessimistic about our chances. It just means these are the areas we've tried to dampen the risk and our ability to do so will probably determine how we go. Sheer pace at the back Clinical Finishing General Ball Control is reasonable but not outstanding Squad Depth I think those are our main 4 risks right now. If we lose a key player we're in trouble. We might struggle to keep the ball - especially if we're playing a direct passing style. How effective we are at scoring will be based around how well we play our strategy and not so much around how we utilise certain players. And I'm still a bit worried that any young kid with a bit of speed will get behind our 2 central defenders without even trying. New Signing Targets Just to wrap this up, what did we learn from all this and what are our plans for signing players? On one hand it's tough to say that we will sign players - we have no knowledge up front regarding local talent and it'll take a while to get information on mostly non-playing Free Agents. Next season we'll have knowledge of the clubs around us and information on players we like who are leaving clubs, but for now who knows what level of information we'll learn over the next 1-3 months? On the other hand since most of our players are on Amatuer or Part-Time deals, letting players go and replacing them with Free Agents is something we can do at any point during the season without really hurting our bottom line. If we find (for example) that our GK can't catch, we will be able to get someone new. We're certainly not going to be doing any transfer deals that involve fee's so we can sign players at any time we want really. Central Defender (backup) Just want a player here with some pace. If we are getting through balls pinged over our backline, we need someone we can sub-on to sweep all that up. We can shuffle both twins into DC if needed as well (Tom is certainly quick enough!), but then we'd need more options on the left and right side of defence. Ultimately while we don't need a 1-for-1 replacement in every single position, we just need another defender to help out. Preferably one with a bit more pace. Striker / Attacking Midfielder Not that Can (and his backup Pettersen) are bad in the AM role, but the way we're playing I'd prefer more pace in that position so the AM can overlap our Target Man as needed. If we're going to have slower attacking players, I'd probably prefer to mirror the Berre style of play on both sides - high skill, lower speed, drifting into the spaces. Then in the centre we use the AM more like a Shadow Striker. It wouldn't have to be like that every match - but it would give us an option. So ideally if we could find a backup striker slash AM/Shadow Striker with good pace and the ability to score goals, I think we could improve the squad a lot. Otherwise anyone we sign will just be to upgrade our starting lineup. I know good harmony, team combinations and general dynamics are important - but I feel at this level you need to make sure you're constantly improving your squad where you can as well!
  5. [FM18] McBride - Skeid & Beyond

    13 February 2017 Yes that's how I plan to open every post from now on. I think it's a cute way to keep track of time - some updates we'll be posting multiple times in a week, sometimes it'll be months between updates. I'm not looking to do a play-by-play for each individual match, but I will take the time to [over-]explain things I think are important. The Bank of Edro I kind of like that sub-title, haha. One part of FM that I've never really tracked is how much money I make as a manager. It's so irrelevant to the sport of managing that it's left by the wayside. But I've been playing a multiplayer game recently and my *cough* rival *cough* likes telling me how much more money he's earning than me! So I think we might try and keep a running tally of how much money Edro earns over a season, and bundle up his lifetime earnings as a lump some figure as we go. Even if we change countries, I'll keep the currency on "Euros" so we can keep tabs on things (if we take a gig in England we'll just have to suffer sticking to Euros!). A fairly typical 1-year deal, and a decent enough wage. Well once again we say "decent" without having *any* idea of the cost-of-living in Norway. Probably not going to try and judge the quality-of-life of Edro based on his finances... just amass a big shiny number and brag about it at the end, haha. We have no Philosophies right now, but we've agreed to meet with the Board again in a few days to discuss our strategy there. This gives us a chance to look at the squad and see what we think we can do with them, before we speak with the Board about it. Anyhow, I just thought a separate post for 'Edros personal finance' was appropriate. Time to go take a look at the squad!
  6. [FM18] McBride - Skeid & Beyond

    I held back this effort for a week or so, just to wait for the Winter Transfers Update. I've re-run the setup and the above information is still correct/the same. Since we hadn't looked into the squad or finances or anything else related that may have changed in the Summer-to-Winter transformation, I think we're fine to just pick up the Winter Update and go from there! 13 February 2017 Before we get into the detail of the players and figure out a formation/strategy, we need to set ourselves some more targets - specifically what us and the Board want to achieve this season. Back to the Past It's possible most people are aware, but for the sake of being thorough it's worth mentioning that the Scandinavian Leagues run through the calendar year; which is the opposite to most European Leagues. I live in the (literal) polar opposite part of the world personally, so I'm mostly guessing when I say it's likely because of the harsh, snowy winters - I imagine they would lose entire months of the year that they cannot play football on. That means we're rolling the FM clock back further than most typical FM18 saves would. Random Fun Facts: - Ireland also runs calendar year. No idea why, but it seems odd. - Russia & Ukraine, despite also being quite snowed-in during winter, still run the typical European season, except they start fixtures in early July (sometimes a month earlier than most of Europe) and take a 2-3 month break over Winter. Group 1 I should clarify that there are '2' Second Divisions in Norway - simply dubbed Group 1 and Group 2. As I understand it, 1st place from G1 and G2 promote instantly, and there's a playoff between 2nd place in both Groups, along with '3rd last' [14th] in the First Division - to determine who gets that First Division spot in the next season. Whether that playoff is a mini 3-team group (in Italy I believe there's a method like this between Serie C and B), or just that both 2nd's playoff and the winner challenges 14th from First Div I have no idea. As for our group we're tipped for 5th place. A little worrying is that the Info screen at startup tipped us for 11th (which says we would be about 70-1 odds) and this tips us for 5th, around 10-1. I'm not sure which to believe and whenever there's a disconnect like this, I'm always naturally pretty pessimistic about our chances. For a long time I never knew or never cared for the above chart. It's in League > Overview > Season Preview and includes a lot of general information such as the Leagues reputation, key players and transfer info. The information is constantly in flux - so our odds will be 10-1 today, but if we signed a star striker maybe we'll shoot up to 5-1 for example. Anyhow we'll check back in here from time to time. I'd say it's more interesting than it is helpful - but nothing wrong with trying to prove the odds wrong or trying to get your players into the 'dream eleven' and so on. Random Summary / Pictures & References For now I'm just trying to group together relevant information and screenshots that kind of belong. Sometimes that won't work or we'll double up on information (hopefully won't double up on screenshots!), and sometimes I'll have to make separate categories just to share interesting screenshots. The reason I do this - especially now at that start of a career - is that you never know what the most interesting metrics are going to be going forward. Each season when I try and do a seasonal summary and prepare for the next season, I go back to the season prior and try to mirror the same posts so it creates a samey kind of timeline of information to reflect upon. That said, here's what the Board sent us after the introduction meeting. Nothing new here, but it does look nice and tidy. Actually I'd probably like to see the capacity of the stadium, stadium condition and now the level of data facilities at the club come to this page. This isn't just a note about the club's history or performance - the graphic shows off our *current* coaching and recruitment for example, and those aren't features that are (necessarily) based upon the history of the club. So if you're doing it more like a snapshot of where the club is at, rather than a retread of where we've come from then I think this needs updating to add a bit more info. Otherwise it just looks nice, but doesn't really 'help' a manager. ** You might notice I talk a lot about which screens help you manage and which ones are redundant. Presentation of Data is a bug bear of mine ** Speaking on pages that I don't really pay attention to - I'm mostly ignoring both the Assistants Squad Report (ie, where we're shown depth, strengths & weaknesses etc..) as well as the initial feedback from Staff (ie, where we see tactical advice such as who should take corners etc..) - these are reasonable enough pages, but if you're going to micromanage (which is the path Edro is taking) they're not that useful. We may use them more once we're up and running (2nd opinions are helpful!).
  7. [FM18] McBride - Skeid & Beyond

    Thanks for the encouragement guys!
  8. Hi to all who visit! I'm kind of new, and this would be my first thread here. It's a little bit daunting to be honest, haha. Please let me know if I'm breaking forum rules & etiquette in places. Also if I do dumb things during the save, let me know - but please be nice! heh. I have been telling a few stories like the ones you see here in another little forum with some friends, so I'll just bring my style to the table and hopefully it's a decent enough read for anyone on board. Let me know if there's anything I could do better. This won't be the most witty thread here, but what I'm going for is thorough-yet-nicely-paced-and-nicely-presented. Journeyman Route I think the common tongue here for 'jumping clubs to rise to the top' is journeyman, and that's what we're in for. Whether we chase certain roles or wait until we're offered interviews will depend on the situation. Edro McBride This is not my story, it's the story of McBride. He dreams of managing the New Zealand national team at a World Cup. Side Note: From a perspective sense, I'll likely tell the story as if I'm Edro's (invisible) right-hand-man. I tend to describe the journey as "WE decided this" or "HE got a pay rise". Having said that I'll probably be fairly flippant with the 'we' or 'I' comments - proper writers out there would be distraught at how ugly that sounds, but sometimes I'm just not ready to keep up the pretext well. I've chosen a figure born in Auckland because it's probably fairly unique and interesting, without being so far removed with what I'm most familiar with. I could do Aussie or English managers, but wanted to try something different. What I should clarify (since not many of you will come from NZ) is that the names themselves aren't inherently "New Zealand Names". I just liked the sound of them and thought that so long as they were conceivably NZ-ish that they would suffice. Can't say much about Edro's preferences here as mostly we'll adapt to whatever we think is most appropriate with the club. If there were some subconscious ideals though - he'll err on the side of caution when taking a risk and he's a little bit unconventional in strategies when compared to modern football. Certainly not a wildly creative and ambitious tactician, but the type that may well still prefer a traditional 4-4-2 over a modern 4-3-3 for example. But again, he'll adapt to what players he has more than he'll try and build towards what he wants all the time. I know that "Taskmaster" doesn't really fit the attributes anymore after I changed out a lot of the Discipline and Motivating for Adaptability, but I wanted to make the journeyman route a little more forgiving by raising Edro's adaptability. It makes sense in character - how on earth does a New Zealander get a job in 3rd tier Norway if he's not adaptable? What I expect to come from this is that we will struggle a to keep control of the players and dressing rooms - especially if things aren't going our way. It also probably means that we'll struggle for knowledge. I'm hoping we can rely on good staff to fill that void somewhat. On the flipside, Edro should be quite confident and the kind of manager who tells the Board what he needs rather than seeing what the Board wants and going from there. Training-wise McBride accepts that general knowledge and general training aren't his strong points. He'll make up for that by working his team as hard as he can and having his players ready for any kind of physically taxing strategies (a high press or direct passing style are a couple of examples). Skeid Fotball Based in Oslo, Skeid Fotball are a club who formerly competed in the Norwegian Premier League, but have spent the best part of the past two decades sliding down the League structure. Currently they find themselves in 2. Divisjon, which is the 3rd tier in Norwegian football (I believe the division carries a sponsor name, but I don't want to say the wrong one by accident so we'll leave it off for now). Their maiden Premier League win was in 1966, and they have several Norwegian Cup trophies. Their other major claim to fame was providing/producing talented players for larger clubs in the country, as well as some National Team stars such as (reading off wikipedia now:) Daniel Braaten, Daniel Fredheim Holm, Omar Elabdellaoui and Mohammed Abdellaoue. Aims & Objectives The pipe dream for any FM run is to get your team to the top. Long term is there any reason we couldn't compete with the best clubs in this country? For McBride, this means he'll be something of a long-term planner. No matter how long he envisions staying at a club, he'll be looking at the path to the top for them, and he'll be making moves in that direction. In practise it means we'll probably see some decisions that sacrifice short-term gain if we think the long-term effect is better. He'll accept the chagrin of the Board sometimes if it means he gets the club into (what he see's as) a better position long term. For Skeid, a great long-term goal would be to revive that youth-talent reputation that they've held. With the (hopefully) growing of the club and improvement of their League position, having a youth-orientated strategy is probably quite wise. The club isn't going to be in a financial position to wheel-and-deal with transfers for a while. It will also be exciting to target getting the club back into a Professional status. I'm unsure if that will change much for the inner workings of the club, but even just having the confidence to lock down most of our players in full time and/or long term contracts if needed is valuable. Challenges There are a few things that we'll need to deal with as they become relevant, even if they're not directly a target for us. For example our home ground. If we promote there's a ruling on the minimum Stadium Requirements. As I understand it from looking at some of the photos, we've got a nice Football Park, but not a Football Stadium. This might be taken out of McBride's hands, but it'll still be interesting to see what direction the club goes if we do promote. Do we throw in a stand to get us above 1,500 capacity? Do we move to another park with a stand and pay some rent? Do we piggyback off another club's stadium somewhere? In general I suspect money will be a concern. We're a club that more recently promoted from the 3rd division than we did demote from the 1st division, so we're kind of in full rebuild mode commercially. I imagine there's going to be a massive dogfight to secure handy Norwegian talent as well. 2nd Division doesn't carry any heavy squad registration rules, but if you're climbing into the professional leagues you're asked to put up 16 players who were trained in Norway as a youth. That's a pretty tall order - especially if you don't have the money/facilities to support an influx of overseas teenagers in your youth setup. Why Skeid / My History of FM A fair question. I mentioned that I'd written up some 'runs' like this for some friends and after a handful of English and Australian saves spread out over a couple of years, one of them said "What would be interesting is to try some new places, and to get to know some leagues we don't typically see." And they were exactly right! What a great idea! I'd been neglecting a huge chunk of FM! So I've been gradually expanding my scope. I played a fairly lengthy campaign across a couple of clubs in Belgium and I had a run with Parma's rebuild in Italy. I've also been playing a multiplayer save for 12 seasons now (in FM17 over about 6 months) where I've managed in England, Ireland, Holland and Ukraine. There's a lot of learning in each new league you go to - from the different rules per country to the history of the teams. Another fond memory I have is the accomplishment I felt turning the Semi-Professional Eastbourne Borough into a Professional club once we promoted to L2 (FM16). I didn't really see through their maiden season as a Pro club and I regret that. It's always been in the back of my mind to do another semi-pro-to-pro run. Taking on the job in 3rd tier Norway really ticks all 3 boxes: first turning a club Pro, then a journeyman run to adapt to new situations on the fly, and finally getting to play in new leagues. Specifically Skeid is a club with a long history, a Pro history and who have been at their lowest point and are in a kind of mini-fight back. On With The Show... And that's about all I can think of in preparation before hitting "Continue" for the first time.
  9. [Australia] (Official) Data Issues

    Just got around to properly looking at Brisbane Roar, and wanted to make a few (subjective) comments on attributes, specifically comparing players to one another. If there are some folks who do the research on the skill levels for Brisbane, I'd be happy to hear their thoughts and discuss. And no, this isn't just a disgruntled fan whinging about how bad Roar are this year (I mean, I am disgruntled, but I'm trying to be fair in my suggestions, hah!). General Players Massimo Maccarone seems to be over stated. I think I read somewhere that since he's an overseas player he may have been estimated by the Italian researchers? It would be nice the Australia researchers could estimate him comparative to the rest of the his current squad. For example he's listed as 11 pace, 11 acceleration, 11 agility and 13 balance. Compared to (lets say) Peter Skapetis who is 12pc, 12ac, 7agi, 10bal - it's not really the case. Skapetis is pretty mobile and Maccarone is equal or worse. But the issue might be present in all his stats - personally I think his First Touch is too high [13] and his Technique too [13]. Once again it's comparative. You've got Brett Holman who's on 10 for First touch and he's not 'that' much worse than Mac. 13 First Touch puts him up nearly as high as Ben Khalfallah [14] and Bautheac [14] and those to guys are probably 2-4 points higher than Maccarone at receiving with soft touches. So once again, I just think a general review of Massimo would be good. If I'm wrong and an Aussie researcher did put these stats in then ok - but I still tend to think he's rated considerably too well. Peter Skapetis seems to be a fair bit weaker in physical attributes than he should be. I'd say he's more akin to Jack Hingert in terms of general physique, mobility and speed. But I also think he's underdone in general compared to the rest of the team. Once again I just wonder if he was reviewed by someone outside the Australian Research team? If nothing else I think his dribbling, flair and aggression need updating. He has that real swagger of a player trained in Europe that most Aussies don't have and so he has a more natural hunger (say aggression, bravery, determination) than most of the team. Physical Avraam Papadopoulos might have his size and strength just a little understated and his general mobility overstated. The guy is a big unit and he's given 14 str - maybe I misunderstand what 'strength' represents, but my guess is he's stronger than even DeVere [14str], and certainly a LOT stronger than Maccarone [13], D'Agostino [12], Pepper [12] and some others. Matt McKay doesn't seem as immortal & fit as the game suggests. 18 Natural Fitness and 19 Stamina is high praise, but considering he's at least 3 points higher in both those stats than anyone else in the team - I just don't think that's a fair representation of him this season. There's just no way Brett Holman is in the top 2-4 players for general fitness at the club either [16 Nat Fitness and 15 Stamina]. He just isn't greater than Brown [14N/13St] and Kristensen [14N/13St]. I'd almost put him down towards Jade North who's 16 Nat Fitness and 12 Stamina, but maybe the other way around - Holman might be 11 Natural Fitness and 13 Stamina maybe? He's really struggling with the speed of the game over 90 minutes whereas North kind of manages it. I think Dane Ingham is a little bit quicker than we give him credit for here as well. Technical D'Agostino seems a little too good at dribbling. I don't think he's the type to dribble that much and it's not a part of his game. On the flipside, I think Brett Holman is better at dribbling then we give him credit for. His trouble isn't so much technical skill, it's physical skill and fitness. So I feel like his First Touch and Dribbling should be higher - and his general fitness decreased. That would represent him as a player. Joe Caletti might be a bit too good at Long Shots [14]. I'm not saying the little guy can't fire in great shots from range, but he certainly isn't going to hit some thunderous shots like Holman has done in the past 12 months. Actually I think Holman and Kristensen need to go up in Long Shots and Caletti down. Tackling wise I think DeVere and Papadopolous are better than any of the midfielders : Caletti, Pepper & McKay, and I'd argue that Kristensen is better than McKay as well. Mental Now it's really subjective and tough! I don't think DeVere is 3rd-highest anticipation. And Pepper & Oxborrow seem too high in this regard - they're both players who haven't had considerable amounts of A-League football... so it seems off to have them so high. Corey Brown probably needs higher determination [10]. He's come a long way in the past 12 months and he's a fairly adept battler. I can't imagine him being lower than Ben Khalfallah [11], Pepper [12], North [13] and Holman [13]. Can't speak for in the dressing sheds, but McKay seems to be the team leader. But if I'm honest all those good leaders are overrated if we're looking at the 2017 squad. It's tough to be judgemental, but there aren't too many players 'taking charge' right now on the park. Tone everyone down 1 and push McKay up 1 or 2 maybe. I think Corey Brown is at least equal, if not better Positioning-wise than Jack Hingert. Brown is really good off the ball in attack and defence really. One of the better players on the team for that. Brett Holman isn't a 20 Work Rate player. Teamwork at 19? Sure that may well be - he does put in well for his teammates. But Holman does his hard work in batches, and in between he drifts (mostly out of the game completely). I don't think anyone who watches him play for Brisbane is going to applaud him for his work rate. 15 might be an ok number, but comparative to his squad mates that even seem's too generous. Anyhow, if that's useful or anyone has any feedback on that it'd be great. I don't really know how this is all done by researchers and if there are cut-offs for information etc... but I figured this is based on 4-5 weeks of the season so its' just enough to get at least 1 good look at most of these players so we know what they're like. And of course - if there aren't many people doing the A-League stuff I'll put my hand in the ring. But I imagine there would be a few out there already!
  10. Cheers for your time. And thanks for the heads up on Nation > Transfer Window info. It's exactly what I were after! That one slipped under my radar all these years!! Also re: Passionate about the scouting knowledge - some would say petty and some would probably say mad lol. But seriously I just think this could be a great, interesting page if it got some proper love. And it's doubly frustrating to have (seemingly) receded since last season. Thing is - I think it still needs work right now to get it up to an acceptable standard, and then the rest can be in the future. I can imagine what I think is an acceptable standard for FM18 (basically to make it on par with FM17) and what SI are ready to commit at this stage will be a point of contention. And re: Finances - I still think this is buggy. If you are spending 745k p/w on wages and the chart only goes up to 700k - that's a design/interface issue regardless of how many months it tracks. Just so I'm still looking at the right stuff, I should probably take the following over to other areas (listing just as much for my own benefit for when I start my new post over there): Home [My History] Inbox [Social Feed] Dynamics [Social Groups 1&2&3] Dynamics [Team Meeting] Tactics [Overview] - intensity part Tactics [Opposition Instructions] Tactics [Analysis / Opponenet > Stat Pack] Team Report [Comparison] Staff [Overview] Staff [Job Security] Scouting [Scouting Centre 1&2] Scouting [Assignments] Scouting [Shortlist] Scouting [Knowledge & Improvements] Club [Facilities] Finances [Debts & Loans] Finances [Sponsors] Now I've just got to figure out which is which. eeek.
  11. Got to give them a chance at least! See what kind of feedback we get I suppose.
  12. There are a lot of posts saying the Interface is very weak and in response I hear a lot of comments asking for details and specifics. So I figured I'd go through all the general screens top-to-bottom and comment on any issues & offer ideas. Major or Minor. Hopefully I'm not too apprehensive as well. Ultimately we just want the best game that tailors to everyone's needs. And Ultimately this is beta feedback. So for every time I've said "this is dumb" I've at least attempted to give some proper feedback on why or what to improve. EDIT: At least I started this as mostly an 'interface' kind of thing. But it turn into a 'whatever I think of' kind of thing. Seriously though if anyone wants to dissect it and let me know which pieces should go where, I can do the leg work and make new threads (with the screenshots etc.. attached in other areas. There also seems a general consensus that the match day interface is a bit of a wash, so I'll leave that until it gets some work (there are dozens of threads on bits and pieces to fix there from camera angles or finding player stats, to the horizontal formation when it's vertical everywhere else and how tedious setting opposition instructions are etc..). I'll mention that I'm playing windowed. With mostly max settings. Since a lot of the interface changes appear to be in an attempt to utilise space, I realise that this is mostly practised on fullscreen. So some of my comments may be weak because it's not an issue on fullscreen. You can decide if my claims are valid or not. Also finally, some of this may well be 'not an interface issue', so please point me in the right directions for posting certain things so I can copy/paste them where they belong. Home [My History] - If you click on the option to "Keep History After Retirement" it doesn't immediately indicate the tick showing that it will do this (or that it's turned it off). You have to navigate away from the Home bar and then back to it to see what your setting is there. Inbox [Inbox / Social Feed] I basically don't like that social feed even exists, but I'll try to define my major issues. #1 - Important information is split between your inbox and social media. See, the most common answer you get when you say you dislike the social media element in FM is "well ignore it." But I feel like I'm missing some important information if I don't cast an eye over it every so often or around important events and times. Now what is 'important' is obviously subjective, but here are 2 examples: [INBOX] When a player on your shortlist is bid on by another club. [SOCIAL] When a player on your shortlist is listed in a clubs 'retained' memo. (whether he's retained or not). [INBOX] When your player is selected in the team of the week or wins a player of the month award. [SOCIAL] Generally these awards are in Social Feed. So to me it's either important to get ALL information about your shortlisted players, or it's not. A player being bought versus him being released is equally valuable information. Similarly, pushing the awards stuff to social media just feels less immersive. I mean I should want to know who the key players to look out for in our division are. #2 - Most of the comments about your actions just come in "Plus/Minus/Interesting" format. Once you've seen it once you've seen in a thousand times. And it's boring. I don't even know the improve this. Logistically how do you make fake twitter accounts write in relevant, contextual information? But as it stands you make a decision, you'll get the PMI responses and none of it means anything and none of it is interesting. In the real world you would use social media to try and canvas fan opinions and get some general feedback - but here you can't. And with player signings you get the feedback in your inbox anyway. So now we're back to - why have social media if your inbox gets all the relevant and important stuff? #3 - There's no way to 'use' it as a helpful tool. Obviously the exception is the small (<5%) of relevant important info mentioned in #1. You can only sort to see News Outlets or Social Accounts. There's no categorising based on player movements, your club only or particular media outlets. You can't click the hashtags to get all the recent news surrounding a particular player or club (it'll just take you to their profile pages). There's no way to take the information created there and make it useful. Don't get me wrong - I understand why it's how it is, but in terms of a manager trying to use it as a resource it fails. In terms of it being interesting and relevant it fails. And in terms of 'not' being a confusing jumble of what's important to you personally and not, it fails. That's my social media trifecta. Let me rephrase: 1. I can't ignore it because it does have information I want to see that I can't get shipped to my inbox. 2. 95% of the information is redundant because it's easy to spot the trends in how the info is created. 3. Even if you embrace the social media element, there's no way to use it. Inbox [Transfer Window] - When you're in a transfer window that tab exists, and when you're on the last day it changes to "Transfer Deadline Day". I kind of miss the general Transfer Window tab though. The Deadline Day tab is fine - it's great for what it does - but it's no replacement for the overall transfer window tab. - Basically what I want (especially in smaller, more intimate leagues with less clubs) is the ability to review the transfers made using the Transfer Window screen, AFTER the transfer window has closed. At the moment you can only look prior to the final day, and during the final day. There's no kind of "Transfer Window Summary" page that includes the final days' transfers. And I know that I can still look up individual teams, and I can still look up overall transfers via the (per my screenshots below) "England > Transfer" section. But that 2nd option is not the best for filtering by division and they're also monthly tables, not 'transfer window' tables. I'm not saying there's a void of information - you can still find what you're looking for. What I AM saying is that we could do with the great Transfer Window Interface open ALL the time. Is there any reason this page can't exist always? You can just have it sit there even between transfer windows. So at any given time we have an easy access to look who spent what and how many trades each club made, and have the easy-access clicks to check that out! Squad [Players / All Players] - Is the 'All Players" tab a bit redundant? The filers let you switch on every squad and look at everything. I understand that there's a trade-off here: You want to let people manage and look at their players in multiple ways (so they can find what suits them), but there's also the element of the All Players tab being undercooked and untouched compared to specific pages (ie, for training or fitness there are now comprehensive, dedicated pages that you should steer managers toward). [Players] - One thing I have trouble with (and let me know if it's just me) is when I'm trying to make custom views. The visible column headers don't seem to line up properly per 'clicking'. It becomes really messy when you're trying to replace or remove columns because there's no visual cue which column header you're mousing over. Or the visual cue is wrong. Let me try and illustrate. So I've created a custom page called "Passing and Possession 1". I want to remove composure and put crossing in. I hover over composure with mouse [First bit]. I go to replace the column and find crossing [Second, big middle bit]. Then once selected, it has actually replaced Vision - ie NOT what my mouse pointer was hovering over. It's a small grievance I'm sure, but it's annoying if you make a habit of designing all your own tabs. Dynamics [Social Groups] The Social Groups page looks like it just got updated to have a 'red' section of Influential players, and it's getting difficult to read the names. Can we just have all the names in white? It looks good in the blue section. But the grey and red make it really difficult to read the names. If we need to make a darker yellow/orange blend so all the names can be in white than I'd prefer that to some black names and some white. [Social Groups 2] I'm really disappointed that with the Social Group Naming. There's a "Core" and an "Others" - then it's just "Secondary Social Group A", "Secondary Social Group B", Secondary Social Group C". - Apart from sounding a bit silly, wouldn't the 2nd secondary social group be the tertiary one? I mean, if we're going to rank them like this appears to? - And if we're not ranking them - it's just "Core" and "Secondary", well could secondary be renamed "Alternative" or "Minor" or "Peripheral"? [Social Groups 3] I can't go past this section without sharing my opinions on what would make Social Groups interesting versus what makes them kind of poor right now. Maybe I originally set my expectations too lofty for this, but I had great ideas for what this could be. This seemed like a great way that you could generate a kind of club culture by the way you played, the players you had, and the way players with similar mentalities or play styles/preferences fit in with one another. For example when I'm signing a player I wanted to be thinking "will he be determined enough to fight for every point and every goal? Like the rest of my lads?" And that's not really what we got.... Basically there are two problems; #1 - The Social Groups don't give any indication of what they are. Why do the players in that group stick together? The actual problem here is that you can't properly manage your social groups because they're linked by either a randomised invisible link or trait, or (and I hope this 2nd one is the right answer) an intricate web of features like their experience, personality, mentalities, adaptability etc... that is impractical for common users to figure out. Now you're going to tell me that I can still manage this by the feedback on whom doesn't fit in with the social groups already, AND that I get scouting feedback on any potential new signings about how well they fit in. BUT, the best features in FM - and what splits the best managers apart in my opinion - are the ones that you can get feedback on, but that you could also have figured out that feedback/advice by looking yourself. For example: If I scout a player and the scout says he's good because he is quick, but he's risky because he's got injury troubles, that information is available for me to go and look and decide for myself. "Quick" might mean he has a great top speed but he isn't agile, or "Injury Prone" might be the scouts impression based on 1 long-term injury last season. So I can take the scouts advice on board, but I also have the appropriate information available to make my own decision. With Social Groups we don't have that. Our ability to manage - even through the long-term manipulation of which players we buy and sell - is purely based on the advice of our staff. We can't look and make our own informed opinions. Which brings me back to the point about "what" are the social groups? "Why" do the players in them stick together? What general or specific trends are prevalent throughout a group? If we knew (for example) that the Core Group bonded because they were all highly ambitious - that's great because I can decide to harness that. If I knew they were brave, I could be careful to temper that. If there's a Professional group and a Determined group I may just be content to let both of them grow separately. These are just examples, but THIS is the kind of thing I thought Social Groups would bring to the game. We're creating a club culture that translates to effort on the pitch. #2 - You can't really do anything to change social groups. Can players change between Secondary and/or Core groups? I honestly have no idea. Can I influence the change? If not, why can't I through having the Captain run a team meeting every once in a while (or just having an influential captain/leader), through tutoring and through my interactions with certain players (ie. telling a youthie he needs to buck up his ideas might propel him towards a more determined Social Group)? If I can, why don't I ever get any feedback from my coaching staff? Does my skipper or vice, or do my other team leaders or social group leaders ever come to me to discuss helping players out? Or helping them move between social groups? As far as I can tell you can't do too much to change social groups. And a final disclaimer: I'm not saying we should be able to man-manage our social groups. You can't force players to like other players. I'm just saying that with a bit of feedback on what each social group values, and some general ideas of what we can do to influence social groups gradually, a good manager can nurture a really well-bonded squad with similar goals and ambitions (like how you would nurture the career of a young star by weighing how and when you play him, loan him, pay him new contracts etc...). What worries me a little is that the dynamics system isn't that deep. And if not, it makes the whole thing kind of annoying and not fun at all imo. It's just another thing to 'know', but not another thing to 'manage'. (I hope this little section gives of some feedback on how to improve the system, not just bashing it. I know my frustration shows through a bit here!) [Team Meeting] - Can we have some function that when you click this button it doesn't automatically start a team meeting? Can we get a popup to confirm if we want to? Or an interface where we tell the players why we want a meeting (with possible reasons showing up). I know it's a silly though, but I feel bad when I invite all the players to a team meeting just because I'm flippantly clicking through all my tabs like a crazy obsessive-compulsive person. Tactics [Overview] I actually really like this page, especially with the tactics expand/retract/pin function. It works equally as well in full screen and windowed modes. It just has a general good feel about using it. Looking at your players and some stats, then expanding the tactics section to tinker and seamlessly going back to the player lists. Two little things though: - When you click in the area on the bottom-ish right assigned to "Team Instructions" it brings up the Team Instructions window. It sounds obvious, but the mouse pointer doesn't read that as a clickable area. When you hover over the actual words "team instructions" it obviously goes to the clicking hand/finger. But hovering in the green-space there (light skin) doesn't look like it's a clickable area. Personally I'd prefer if clicking this expanded/retracted the Tactics window, but at the very least this should show as a clicking area. - Intensity looks like a cool (new?) feature added to the game. Or at least it's more emphasised now. But there's really nothing else mentioned about it beyond that 1 bar and some hover-over info. Ok so higher intensity can cause more injuries - what's a safe level? If I have a naturally fit and strong side can I overcome some of that injury risk? Is the intensity show based on how fit my current squad is (I assume a side with less endurance overall would be higher risk if running the same high-intensity strategy as one with greater fitness)? Can I get a medical opinion on how much stress we're putting on our players - on individuals or the squad as a whole by using a certain level of intensity? Do we get memo's in our inbox from the Boss of Sports Science saying "hey you need to calm you crazy tactics down, it's destroying your players." The whole thing just seems a bit undercooked to me. Intensity seems like a huge part of how you manage and create tactics, but we have barely any kind of feedback on this. [Opposition Instructions] I've seen some people complaining about not being able to set multiple instructions (say "Show onto weaker foot" for 10 players at a time) while in-game, but you can do it here. If it's able to be done in 1 place, it probably needs to be possible in-game as well. [Analysis > Next Opponent > Stat Pack] It honestly just assaulted my senses a bit. Blame the colours of the clubs at hand maybe, but I think it's because everything else (see all my other screenshots) is these softer colours and in here it's bold red and blue and it really doesn't fit the rest of the colour pallet. I find this issue still holds no matter the skin I put on (images are all FM Light). Team Report [Comparison] The yellow, denoting highest average is tough to read, and the light blue for lowest average gets lost if you in fact have some of the lowest averages. (see image below) I'm aware that this is just a problem with the FM Light skin. But I think if you want all 3 skins to look the same, any changes for the Light should be made for all 3. Maybe have this is bigger font with a black outline on the text? Or make a legend up the top right where it currently just says "average" and mention up there what the yellow and blue lines mean, instead of trying to write the line descriptions over the top of the graph. And no this isn't really solved on Fullscreen either. Wherever blue overlaps blue (or yellow overlaps yellow for that matter) you're obviously not going to be able to read the text. Staff [Overview] I just find that red-on-black difficult to read on both the FM Light and FM Dark skins. This also seems a bit nit-picky, but the "lowest average" in the Player Skills comparison (screenshot 2 above) is below the line and here (this screenshot) it's above the line. I see both screens as kind of the same information [qualify of your players/staff versus the rest of the division] so they should be nearly identical in design/colour imo. [Job Security] The "form" buttons don't work. On other screens (Team Report > Overview // Tactics > Opposition Instructions) when you click the form button (it's made to look like a clickable button now) it takes you to the relevant schedule page. In Job Security it doesn't do that - even for active leagues. Scouting [Scouting Centre] What's odd for me here is that the colours used (in all skins, though once against the FM Light always looks worse overall) in the Scouting Inbox window don't match the club colours for when you actually go and look at a player. Why not? See how they are different colours? Maybe purple isn't so bad, but when you get different shades of club or green (that are more common) it can seem a bit odd - as if you're looking at entirely different clubs. It's not a big deal, but why not just make them the same colour?! Speaking of, there's a little issue with the name of these players (in the Scouting Inbox) changing colours. In my game Roger Martinez showed up in white, then I clicked him and hit 'back' and it was this blue, Then I changed skin to FM Dark and he was in white again. Changed back to FM Light, he was a black name and once again when I clicked the name and then 'back' it reverted to blue. So there's some kind of bug in there somewhere. [Scouting Centre 2] I also tend to get a lot of feedback and suggestions from outside my scouting range, despite having not requested anything like that. How am I getting feedback on players in the ACL when I clearly toned down my packages to just look inside Europe? More feedback is obviously welcome, but if my packages don't reflect what's being worked on by my staff, then what's the purpose of the packages? I'm sure there's a proper answer to that, but you have to understand that this seems illogical to the manager. Manager - "Staff team, lets focus on finding players in the UK & Ireland ok?" Analyst - "ok sure! here's my first report, from Asia!!" Now I understand that the packages compared to the "General Focus" are not the same thing. But at the very least there needs to be some more feedback/definition on what each does. The scouting packages are poorly described in the game in my opinion. [Assignments] When you click on 'Scouting Responsibility' or "Scouting Focus' - if you play with any of the options and navigate off these pages, it instantly resets all your scouting assignments. There needs to be a confirmation button that starts this, or a pop-up confirmation asking if you want to make the changes or not. Thing is, you might want to just look at what filters short term or general have. Or look at what alternatives you have from your Chief Scout to manage scouting. Just looking at these things should be harmless, but right now it instantly resets all the scouting assignments. All the scouts reports are set to 0 (you don't instantly lose their work as they're in the 'previous assignment section') and they all have 'no matches watched' set. At the end of the day it probably doesn't matter - ie, you won't lose scouting efforts due to this. But it should be fixed to have some kind of confirmation - if for no other reason than to notify managers that they did in fact make changes while playing around in those screens. [Shortlist] Right now (18.0.3) when you mouse over the "New Search" it brings up the window for setting search parameters. Obviously this should only come up when you click on it. Little bug, but a nuisance all the same. Especially if you want to use the 'shortlists' function just above the button and you get into a dumb cycle of opening the parameters window, moving the mouse down to 'cancel' and then the direct route back to your shortlists open goes over the "New Search" button - once again bringing up the parameters menu, lol. [Knowledge] I've always found Scouting Knowledge to be one of the more interesting kind of 'side projects' you can engage in as a manager. You can focus certain areas - strategically picking out untapped regions or heavily focusing on competitive areas to make sure you're getting the best chance at securing talent from there, or just randomly picking areas because it's fun. For example as an Aussie I take pride in getting my Australian scouting knowledge up as high as I can as soon as I can. Or maybe you just want your knowledge decent in as broad an area as possible, just want your world knowledge percentage as high as you can, or just want to paint the visual graph nicely. And then we get this: The overall issues are that the visuals are poor and don't match the data in a predictable fashion. - It's also a step back from the FM17 version - which was smaller and minimalist in general, but had far better information. Above I hovered over "Spain" on both maps. FM17 is on the left, FM18 on the right. Sure scouting has changed a bit since then, but there's nothing stopping FM18's hover-over saying the country, what region it falls under, scouting knowledge of that region and country etc... - The top right 'legend' doesn't make sense. For starters it's 11 blocks.. is that 1-to-10 covering 0%-99% and the final 1 being 100%? Seems really odd. Second there are only 2 shades of green. So why do we even have 11 blocks? I can understand why half the spectrum is green, but why not just have red/yellow/grey/green/green and a 5-bar legend? This doesn't change no matter what skin we have. - There's an argument to be had about said 'green' as a positive colour being used for as little as 25% scouting knowledge of any country/region as well. - This another example where the game uses quite 'soft' colours in every section, except a few. And when you see these boldened reds, yellows and greens it sticks out. Having the bold colours in the chart also doesn't match the soft/faded colours in the legend. - World Scouting Knowledge looks as if it were tagged on like an afterthought. In FM17 it was in the top left of the knowledge window as if it were the most important information and now it's tiny text hidden under a capitalised SCOUTING header (which looks wrong being all caps by the way). It just gets lost up there. - The Map itself has the curvature on the edges which means it's supposed to look like a flattened out globe. That's an interesting idea as an art style, but it's not really appealing, appropriate, not even practical here. There's just no need to curve North American and Australia/Oceania. If anything, a normal, flat chart would utilise more of the horizontal space because the top half of this page actually looks pretty empty as it stands. I did this map to show where the Great Australian Bight and TAS(mania) line up with their northern coast landmarks. It highlights why the curved Scouting Knowledge map (above) is actually fairly annoying visually. It also dis-apportions how close/far the nothern and southern islands of New Zealand are to the East coast of Australia. It just looks so weird, further enhanced because the north-eastern parts of Russia & Asian are NOT curved in, nor is South America. So lets talk Data, and Data vs Maps and Nation Data vs Regional Data.... - In our Knowledge Screenshot above, Brazil is shown on the map as yellow and 'nominal' knowledge. On the Nations tab we have 0 knowledge of Brazil (because if we did have yellow knowledge of Brazil, it would show up above France which is only red knowledge). So what this is must be doing is reflecting our Regional Knowledge - 9% nominal for South America (East). Ok then, so that logic dictates that since Central Europe is 39% very good, all of Central Europe should be green on the map. But no, in this case France being at 1% Minimal on the Nations list means the map shows us the French Nation-specific scouting knowledge. You can't go both ways. Either the map has the Regional Knowledge shaded in OR it has the specific country knowledge shaded. You can't pick and choose because obviously that's conflicting information. - As my Manager persona has a 2nd nationality from Australia, we gain 32% Aussie knowledge on the Nations section. In the regions section there isn't even a bar for South-East Asia where Australia falls into. Even if 32% of Australia counts as a fraction of a percentage of SE-Asia's knowledge, it should show up. Even as 0% it should show up. - Club is responsible for all this Polish knowledge for no reason (this is a known issue, but I'm trying to cover everything here). - Supposedly we know something about Oceania (keep in mind Australia itself is the SE Asia Region now), but we don't seem to have any links to any Oceania nations. Certainly not enough to give us a 15% decent knowledge of there. Certainly not better knowledge than we'd have of South Europe or Scandinavia (being an English club). [Knowledge - Improvements] There's a lot of potential for this feature to be more interactive, fun and logical. I'm only critical on it because it could be great. The map is a big issue though. For any of this to be relevant the map needs to be more than just a dropped-in screenshot looking thing. - Add some toggle options so you can highlight on the map the different regions. As best I can tell there is no visual representation of the Region cut-offs. Most people know, but it would be really nice if we could click "South Europe" and it shades out all the other regions and purely highlights the countries in South Europe on the graphic. For newer players, or just those who've never put much thought into it, this would be fantastic. "oh so my East Africa is poor? Which countries exactly make up East Africa?" - When you hover over a country you get more feedback on that country & your relevant scouting details. Basically start with as much of the FM17 stuff you can still put on there and bulk it up with information about the country; National Team ranking, Top Division (and it's ranking), Best Teams, Current champions etc... - Countries need to be click-able. And it then takes you to that nation's home page. As a compromise, if you do make hover-over tooltips, those need to be able to be clicked upon to get to the home page. The map obviously can still read which country you're mousing over, so this should be doable. - More colours. I know simplicity is best, but right now having multiple shades of green isn't really useful or visible on that map. Try telling me at a glance of my map screenshot if Italy, Poland, Spain or Norway are good green or great green? I guess you can default to more blue. But I don't know, throw in a pastel purple or something. Replace the Grey with Lilac. - Correlation between the data at the bottom and the map. Basically a bunch of the stuff I said above the 'improvements' section can be worked upon to give a better outcome. Thing is, people will adapt to whatever you choose. If you want the Nations knowledge to ratio you out a Regions knowledge and the map to just show the regions knowledge that's fine. And when you hover over a particular country it can say "hey France is red, but it shows Green because Central Europe is green" - that's fine. It makes sense. OR, if you make the map highlight every country point-for-point that's ok as well. OR, make a toggle where people can choose to see the Regional colours highlighted or the Nations colours highlighted. Is all this a lot of work? Sure, but clearly a lot of work was done to move from the FM Scouting Knowledge page to get to this point. So if we must change, let's at least do it right and make this page an improvement! Club [General] Club value seems to have slipped away while nobody was looking. Personally I don't mind if it's there or not - Turnover is a better measure of a clubs value than 'value' ever was imo. But that Finances section looks quite bare now. Especially on full screen. Add highest paying sponsor in there or something new? [Facilities] I've always thought the Stadium name was really understated here. It's generally your most significant Facility and is a header for this page, but it's always been written in small text. It should be bigger and bolder. Board [Overview] Just a little gripe of mine - is there any way we can manipulate these sections to get the 'full' look at them. Without the need to scroll down. Ie, the buttons they give you don't link you to the exact portrayal of information there. Finances is kind of fine, and the Scouting piece is just text so it's not as big of a deal. But the Staffing is a neat little tick-and-flick table of what you're allowed to hire. I know the staff pages cover this in detail too - but this is the best simple review of such things. It's a shame we can't choose to expand it, have options to take the Finances out to extend it, or just pull it out as a page or popup on it's own. Heck if you're really inventive, let us click on the roles in that window and it automatically takes you to a "Staff Search" page with the parameter/filter of the staff role already applied! Finances [Wages] Mine at Huddersfield just seems a bit broken. I guess something something scaling on the Y axis. I'll let you guys figure this one out! [Debts & Loans] I really like the work done to the Debt & Loans and the Sponsorship pages over the past few years of FM. It's the simple things like the pie wheels and being able to mouse over them to see which deal is which. But I have to say, trying to understand some of the information is an absolute chore. I can't tell you where our Net Debt of 86,970,787 pounds comes from? It looks remotely close to the Original Debt, but that doesn't make sense because our remaining debt is 81M. And I can't rationalise our 437k per month to our expenses page either: We paid 451,498 last month. I could understand if the expenses were lower meaning this month there are still debts payments to be incurred. But if it's higher - where is the extra debt repayments coming from? And if there's something in the line "Loan Repayments and Interest" that ISNT on the Debts and Loans page... well shouldn't these two go hand in hand? This isn't a new issue - other versions have had similar inconsistencies. I'd guess the math for figuring out the distribution of repayments is done in quite detailed fashion in the Income/Expenses pages, and the Debt & Loans page along with Sponsorship page are really just there as a summary. They're not supposed to hold under scrutiny. And if that's the case it's fine. But it's worth making a mention, just in case any perfectionists over at SI want to (a) make it all line up nicely, or (b) want to explain the differences to us. [Sponsors] - Can we have a 'total' please? It's funny because the Debt & Loans is a lot more messy and yet that has a total debt calculation even though total debt isn't as vital as the monthly repayments. Sponsorship on the other hand - total annual sponsorship IS a big deal and since it's often just paid up front once, a Total of your sponsorship would be nice. As soon as you get 3-4 sponsors it gets a bit out of hand for just doing the math in your head!
  13. Match Tactical Information

    I think a lot of the match day interfaces are poor and don't give easy access to the higher priority information. This is definitely an example of that
  14. Got to agree that this is fairly annoying. Hope it's something that can be fixed.
  15. [Asia] (Official) Specific Issues

    That's a fairly significant issue for anyone wanting to play a good career in Australia. I won't go on about it, but just say once that that's very disappointing to hear.
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