1) Backroom Staff Training
Scouts, assistant managers and coaches are able to grow consistently throughout the game. However the manager has little hold onto how they are able to grow, except by putting them into their jobs (i.e. to increase their attacking coaching, put them in attacking), and by winning leagues and competitions. I found out that my coaches grew better in defense coaching because throughout the league there are little conceded goals. However this is too tough to train a backroom staff, and there ought to be better hold and assessment for backroom staff. Plus, potential good staff is impossible to find without an editor. Because you wouldn't know that the staff has 200 potential, whereas for players scouts/coaches could give star ratings on them, giving an idea how good he is. This is rather flawed and I do hope in the next 09 football manager it is improved.
Suggestion: Mentoring is a good idea. If only top managers/coaches could offer to mentor younger coaches, and their stats grow likewise, this would be fantastic.
2) Backroom Staff Searching
Much have been given to search for players, but to search for a good staff, I had to traverse the whole search list on good staff, instead of people giving me good recommendations of reputable staff and seeing their stats. Although admittingly there is lesser emphasis on backroom staff, I do like how Man United's David Gill commending their scouts for the good work they did, credited to them in conjuction to their recent Double. What happens is that through that kind of recognition, other clubs or people know they are good scouts. This is certainly lacking in here.
And of course, again I emphasize, potential coaches are impossible to find; you wouldn't know how good they are without an editor. With lacking of search options for backroom staff, I really hope this is one of the priorities to be improved. I spent hours going through country coaches to look for good staff, and it is not helpful.
3) Players cannot play well beyond their positions
Let me explain: I found out that Cristiano Ronaldo in the game cannot really score goals. To me, this is not a stats/attribute problem. This is just how the game works: You put Ronaldo as a Winger, and generally a Winger goes up the flank, crosses the ball in and let the forwards/strikers continue with a finish. Now, because Ronaldo was programmed to be a Winger, thats what he does, and he does it well, but if all he does is generally crossing the ball and letting the forwards continue, no wonder there are no goals, but more assists to his name. However, in the real world, he scores, and scores well. Hence, my point is, his flair attribute don't really work too well; he's stuck as a Winger. Unless we put him as a striker, obviously the goals come in. In Man Utd, he scores more than Rooney even when he is a Winger and Rooney's a forward/striker.
I haven't really tried free role hence this is about all I can say. In addition, I acknowledge that there are exceptions, when I put van Persie as a Winger, he goes up to the centre and finishes from the corner of box well. And the commentator would say "Ohhh.. what a goal. Pure inspiration from the van Persie." However its only that one or two times in a season. And that cannot be when Ronaldo is Footballer of the Year.
Hence, I do hope there are improvements on the game engine at this aspect.
4) League growth
We can grow a player, we can grow a club, but if we are stuck in a lousy league, we never go beyond our league. In reality, this is impossible.
Asian football is becoming increasing popular; of course, not in Europe, but its growing. In the game, the reputation for a league is set. Hence, when Real Madrid wins the Spanish League, they have a world-wide reputation. However, when Liverpool wins the EPL, they get a continental reputation generally(only European Champions Cup drives the English Clubs into world-wide status generally).
This, can be outrightly unfair, and it has repercussions even into international management. I currently manage Czech Republic. Now, Czech Republic has players with potential, but not every one of them are in big leagues; some players are growing in Czech clubs. Now, Czech clubs don't have better training facilities and coaches than EPL clubs generally. The growth of a prospective player is limited to how the club trains them generally. In short, the player's growth can be hindered by a lack of good training, because the club is lousy. And thus, many of them dont even reach half their potential points even when they are 24 years old. This is serious, because Czech clubs are stuck, my international team is stuck with potentially good players but lousy because of lack of opportunities. So once Rosicky and Petr Cech is gone, Czech national team is over.
What do I do? Buy every propspective young players from Czech and train them myself. So my Arsenal team contains the whole of Czech national team. See how the whole situation is flawed?
I hope SI would encourage league growth in FM 09. Granted, it may seem unrealistic for a club, that a human manage, be the catalyst and the force to grow an entire league. However in EPL that is not so; Liverpool and Man Utd made history playing into European Champions Cup and EPL's ratings soared a few decades ago. And if a human managed club is beating the AI clubs, it would be realistic if when the AIs buy better players, to compete with the human, thus increasing the quality of the teams in that league.
And of course, prize money. Please let the prize money grow if possible. Leagues that have little prize money can only do so much; realisticly with inflation prize money is bound to grow within years.
Hence, my suggestion: let the leagues have an opportunity to grow. Countries as well if possible, some countries are stuck as developing.
Suggestion: How to grow? When a club beats European Champions' Cup, or continental cups, the whole league has its reputation raised. Realistic isn't it, if a Scottish Club wins European Champions' Cup. And if the runners-up are from the same country, please let the league grow its reputation and stature. Reach a certain point in reputation, grow in prize money.