Okay, apologies if these have already been mentioned, evaluated or included but these are my thoughts on what should be included in the next instalment after the very good FM07.
1. Milestone Matches: A player may be about to play the last game of his career, or break a club games record. Surely there should be a way to get the team to lift for the occasion. Maybe you could get a message 5 days prior to the game, and there could be options to have rival players (opponents over the players career) talk to your team about the player, or tell them to win it for that player. Could also involve telling the team to play like that player ie. If the player was a hard at it player maybe the whole team will try to play more in that style.
2. Match Day Squads: For away games (and even home games) you have to select a squad of your chosen size to prepare for the game and be considered for selection. Only those selected in this squad can be played as it is impossible to get a player to be picked on the day of the match when you're playing in a different city, country or even continent. The match squad becomes tighter, and maybe certain players get to know each other better (eg.room-mates). Young players could be put in the squad as a learning curve, maybe 2 or 3 times a season so that the transition to senior football is easier and they understand the dynamics of the team better.
I would also have an option to choose when this match day squad travels to the location. eg. For games within 100km the morning prior. Within 500km the day prior. In excess of 500km two days prior etc. You can change these around at will and they affect the teamâ€™s condition for the match. Could open up a further role for the first team coach who may be in charge of ensuring the match day squad is prepared with run down sessions on the away pitch etc.
3.Neutral Locations: You should be able to schedule friendlies at neutral grounds. This would mean small clubs playing massive feeder teams could play at a bigger ground to get more gate receipts, or an international team (i.e. Australia) could play a friendly in London as it is easier to get to for many of their international players and therefore club managers would be more encouraging to let them play and it would mean they would be in a better condition.
4. Press Conference: Hard to implement without being repetitive, but maybe some short sharp questions such as; "were you happy with the result", "which players do you feel played well", "which players disappointed" etc. maybe 5 or 6 standard questions which can be easily ticked off.
Maybe you can also call press conferences at random times to let the media know where you see the team heading, analyse the current form, look at different players etc. This could also affect your relationship with fans, a more transparent manager would be preferable for many while others would prefer the manager delegate the job to a spokesperson or coach.
5. Media Bans: Players can be banned from talking to the media. Some wonâ€™t react well to this but maybe it will impress others showing discipline.
6. Buy then Loan: Buy the player but as part of the purchase agree to loan the player back to the club for x amount of time.
7. Reserves Specifications: Instruct the reserves coach to play certain players a certain amount of time or to try different players in certain positions. Means more control over the reserves and means first team players donâ€™t get played off the wings when they are a striker for the ones.
8. International Friendlies: Can be schedules at any time, meaning the job is more interesting. However, when they are not scheduled on International Dates the players available may decline due to managers not being willing to give them up for a friendly at that time.
9. Reserve or Youth Manager: Manage the reserves or youth team at various clubs. Means you get a career path to work through and can also form relationships with certain players. May be asked to step up to be a caretaker manager. Could be a good way for new players to get more into the tactics and match day side of the game as there arenâ€™t finances or staff to worry about.
10. Changeable Stadiums: Melbourne Victory this year have had remarkable attendances, with their stadium Olympic Park being too small for many games at just 18000 seats. So they moved many of their games to Telstra Dome, with a capacity of 55,000 people enabling them to make much more money than they would at Olympic Park. Why not has this option in the game? It would be optional so if you wish to remain at the clubs spiritual home it would be fine, but you could move to encourage a higher crowd, more support and this may lead to more memberships and the like as fans are going to have a greater chance of getting seats to more games.
11. Bonding Camp: Similar to match day squads, take a group of players away for a bonding camp where they may do extra training together, or have a relaxing weekend. This could be good for the start of the season to better introduce new players, or to create a tighter unit eg. Have your defenders spend a weekend together to get to know each other better and thus work better as a unit. This may mean they help each other out of form slumps.
12. Open Day: Be able to host a big family day where fans can meet the players, play some games and get a better feel for the club. You would be able to address them and it may see an increase in membership and merchandise sales, as well as players liking the club more. If you do them more often you may become a fan favourite club and have more young players want to play for you as they have grown up attending these family days.
13. Jumper Numbers: Some jumpers have a certain standing about them and thus you may offer them only to players who are worthy. For example, maybe #6 is an important number at your club and by assigning the number to a player you are honouring him whilst also putting pressure on him to perform. Some players may react negatively to this but others may thrive under it. Could also be a nice touch for retiring players to declare they want John Doe to take over their number because they feel he will become a great player for the club, or he reminds them of himself, or they have a great bond with that player. Then that player may accept or refuse the request.
14. Warm Up Program: Prior to a match you can set up how the team warms up. Eg. You may warm up for a considerable time before the game so that you start the game really well but this might mean you taper off at the end. You could also warm up conservatively so that while your start may be slow your peak in the middle and run the game out better.
15. Substitutions: You can give players reasons for being taken off as well as being able to tell the players coming on what you want them to do.
16. Ass Man: Gives tips on various things to help you out (and so that he is useful). For example he may tell you what players he rates or what formations you should play, where a player should play and at what level.
17. Youth Director: You can hire a youth director to take care of youth coming through. The Better the director the better the youth, an they affect the quality of the youth program and the direction. You could also get them to look at developing certain types of players i.e. Midfielders or you may need replacements for a right back and a striker in 5 years so they should look to develop players in these positions more.
18. Other team awards: Give out more team awards. A best and fairest for each of seniors, reserves and u18â€™s, a most promising player award for each level. Best team man award (affects cohesion with other players) and for the reserves and u18â€™s maybe an award for â€œmost likely to play seniorsâ€ as well as a most improved for the club as a whole. You should also be allowed to give out up to 2 encouragement awards to players who you think could become really good players for the club which would show these players that the manager rates them and thinks they can really become good players. Maybe a match day award for the most professional on match day, this would mean other players look up to this player and try to adopt his mental attributes a bit more.
19. Sledging: Be able to try and sledge an opponent to put him off his game. Could also provoke already yellow-carded players to turn it into a red. Some players may react positively to the sledging though, or the referee might catch you out.
20. International Scouts: Be able to employ international scouts who look for players to perform at international level. Your coachâ€™s and ass man could help out, meaning who have a better knowledge of who is available, and what roles they could play for you.
Also have a core group (10-15) of players that you can check list for internationals. This means that you donâ€™t accidentally leave someone of important stature out because they were injured the last time you selected the squad.
21. Internal Scouting: Have the ability to get in depth reports on your own players, highlighting areas that need to be improved, areas that are strong and the players potential.
22. Set Tactics: Have set tactics that are trained into the players so that they can be easily implemented in the match without confusion. The more you practice them the better your team is at them. Also have set plays for corners, free kicks etc.
23. Leadership: Have the Captain stand for something. He may be a quiet captain who lets his actions do the talking, or maybe he talks up the side and creates controversy. He would interact with you more and the media and fans would comment on his suitability as captain.
I would also tie a leadership group in with this. This would involve you selecting up to 6 players (including the captain) to be the leaders of the club and represent the players. These players would meet with you at the start of each season to discuss certain club standards that they would help communicate to the squad, such as squad discipline (punishments for red cards/missing training). If the leadership group is a good unit they may bring the whole team together, and they donâ€™t necessarily all have to be first team players. You may put an experienced reserves player in there as a wise head or prospective coach, or a young player who is breaking into the senior side to increase his leadership skills. This may have a negative affect in putting too much pressure on some players or overworking them but it could help others and create a stronger side. The leadership group could also be called upon to rally the troops or sort out team issues.