After eighteen seasons in my latest game of Football Manager 2007, one issue has cropped up time-and-time again which I would love to see become a feature of future FM games - that of the involved chairman and manager/chairman interaction.
I spent eleven years at Sheffield Wednesday and enjoyed major success with them under Dave Allen and, latterly, a made-up chairman who came in during the 2008 season. Neither of these chairman gave me any issues with regards to transfers and both were fair with setting the budgets. Then came an 81-day stint at Portsmouth when I attempted to swerve relegation before resigning and then the beginning of a successful era at Carlisle. It was at my most recent club that this issue arose...
Norman Steel was the chairman and, being a League One side, Carlisle's finances were precariously low - with about Â£500,000 banked - which is perfectly suited to my style of 'buy 'em young n' cheap' management. However, many of the youngsters I'd brought in during our Championship season developed really quickly under my brilliant coaching staff and so one - Martin Aslan - hit home 22 goals in my Championship season to get me to the Playoff Final (which I lost). A week later, Aslan (who was valued at Â£1.8m and only 18) was sold to Sheffield Wednesday for Â£1.2m because Norman Steel felt the offer was "too good to turn down". Alas, I didn't agree with him undervaluing an 18-year old who had almost brought us to the Premiership. The following week, he intervened again so I lose my star wingers (Ales Cvijanovic goes for Â£2.2m below his asking price and Kim Frimann for Â£300,000 below his) with no recourse. So he's made about Â£5 million from selling Carlisle's future stars. And it continued apace with me being forced to lose several more star men and then having to completely refresh my squad in order not to flounder in my second Championship season.
Of course chairman are, first and foremost, businessmen and so look to a football club as such but none is so ignorant so as to throw away youth talent like that - they'll appreciate the investment potential and keep players on for longer in order for them to develop unless the club's finances are in a dire state. Even when I was Â£10 million to the good, Steel kept on intervening and selling off my players. In light of increased chairman interaction with playing matters (see Abramovich), I think it is important that a framework for interaction between managers and chairmen is thought up so, using the above scenario, I could either deliver a personal message or a media statement about Steel's actions (the latter likely to get me sacked in most cases) and Steel either appreciates my concerns and stops selling players or tells me to mind my own business. It would be an interesting avenue, having to juggle chairmen in the media as well.
All in all, I became incredibly frustrated with not being able to say to Norman Steel, "Look, these players are going to get us into the Premiership and then you'll be making Â£5 million OFF them, not FROM them." The lack of such an option really, really irritated me after a while and I was close to putting an end to my FM 2007 career because Steel wouldn't stop selling off players no matter how rich the club got.
I know it's part-rant, part-suggestion but it's something I'd find a fantastic addition to the game.