Dave C

AI Squad Management - 10 year analysis

83 posts in this topic

One thing I always test is how well squad strengths hold up over time. That in mind, I've run a game through 10 season on holiday mode to compare the stats for Premier League, and Blue Square Premier, clubs.

I've compared the figures from when the game starts, to those at the 1st September 2021. Both "Add Staff" and "Add Players" were unticked.

I've not made any allowance for loanees, so there'll be some duplication as players are counted twice in some cases. But the methodology is consistent over both games, so shouldn't skew the figures.

Squad Size is all full-time players for PL clubs, and all FT/PT/NC players for BSP clubs.
Youth Team stats are based on all players on a YTH contract.
Average number of keepers is ALL keepers at the club, of any status.
Average number of coaches is based on manager, AM, coaches, including youth coaches.


[B]Premier League 2011/12[/B]

Average Squad Size = 45.4
Total players:
20-29 = 0
30-34 = 1
35-39 = 5
40-44 = 3
45-49 = 6
50+ = 5
Total FT players in PL = 908

Average Youth Squad = 22
Total players
10-19 = 4
20-29 = 15
30-34 = 1

Average number of goalkeepers = 7.2
2 x 4
4 x 5
1 x 6
2 x 7
4 x 8
6 x 9
1 x 10

Total number keepers in PL = 144

Average number of coaches = 11.95
Range = 5-18

[B]Premier League 2021/22[/B]

Average Squad Size = 36.7
Total players:
20-29 = 2
30-34 = 3
35-39 = 9
40-44 = 6
45-49 = 0
50+ = 0
Total FT players in PL = 734

Average Youth Squad = 23.95
Total players
10-19 = 0
20-29 = 20
30-34 = 0

Average number of goalkeepers = 5.8
4 x 4
2 x 5
9 x 6
4 x 7
1 x 8
0 x 9
0 x 10

Total number keepers in PL = 116

Average number of coaches = 10.8
Range = 7-14

[B]Blue Square Bet Premier League 2011/12[/B]

Number of professional sides = 15

Average Squad Size = 23.75
Total players:
<15 = 0
16-19 = 2
20-24 = 14
25-29 = 6
30+ = 2
Total players in BSP = 570

Average Youth Squad = 9.58
Total players
0 = 7
<15 = 10
16-19 = 4
20-24 = 2
25-29 = 1
30-34 = 1

[B]Blue Square Bet Premier League 2021/22[/B]

Number of professional sides = 18

Average Squad Size = 23.29
Total players:
<15 = 2
16-19 = 3
20-24 = 10
25-29 = 6
30+ = 3
Total players in BSP = 559

Average Youth Squad = 20.7
Total players:
0 = 1
<15 = 1
16-19 = 1
20-24 = 12
25-29 = 9

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Some thoughts on that data.

The most obvious issue is the dwindling of PL squads, down by nearly 10 players on average. There's a normalising to around 35-44 players, and none of the 45+ super-squads" we see IRL. There's also a five-fold increase in the number of clubs running smaller, <35 player, squads. So squad stability is not holding up at all. This is reflected in the loss of keepers from the game.

PL youth squads hold up fairly well, although there is a lack of smaller/larger squads, everyone plotting in the same area.

Staff drops a little on average, and this is mainly due to teams reducing numbers of youth coaches.


In the BSP, there's a slight increase in the number of pro sides, which I'm not to worried about (I'd be more concerned if that was going the other way).

Outwardly, average senior squad size holds up well. But there are concerns. There are 5 full-time sides there that have squads of 18 or fewer players, including two that don't even have the 16 players they'd need for a match of 11 + 5 subs. That needs looking at.

Average youth squad jumps hugely, mainly because almost every team now has a functional youth team (17 teams in 11/12 have <15 youth players, down to 2 in 21/22). So there's maybe an issue there.

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Good. But I think what would be better to see is the squad spread over all the positions (particularly in the positions of the formation currently used).

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Left the staff stats out, hang on...

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[quote name='nigelquelch']EDIT: You answered me at the same time as I posted ;)[/QUOTE]

To see if things are stable over time. It's important, as if the AI isn't building strong squads, then the game gets easier.

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[quote name='pikeal']Good. But I think what would be better to see is the squad spread over all the positions (particularly in the positions of the formation currently used).[/QUOTE]

I really can't be bothered doing that, it'd take ages! Plus, the formation used changes over time and is subject to numerous variables.

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I'm afraid you cannot prove anything just by running one ten year soak test.

To get a feel for things statistically I'd recommend doing at least 20 x 10 year saves and giving us the statistical range in each of the categories given. That way we can 'normalise' some of the in-game events that may effect single saves. - i.e. administration/windfall events and the effect on squad building.

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There is one piece of information that would be interesting, average age of senior squad.

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Forgot to add time consuming and wouldn't blame you for not signing up to it! :) Well done, starts a debate at least!

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Numbers look like they are not maintained, but without statistical significance I cannot make a conclusion. Squad size is noticeably lower in the PL though, I wonder what the reason is? Most likely it is that the characteristics of the AI are encoded differently to how clubs behave in real life, but due to what stimuli? Is it the debt/lack of transfer funds, or the tendency for the AI to buy less players for more money and concentrate on quality over quantity?

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[quote name='Dave C']
Average youth squad jumps hugely, mainly because almost every team now has a functional youth team (17 teams in 11/12 have <15 youth players, down to 2 in 21/22). So there's maybe an issue there.[/QUOTE]

The jump in BSP youth squad size is likely due to the fact that at the start of the game quite a few BSP teams don't have fully modelled youth teams in the DB, even if they might have enough youth players in real life. And since the game was started with the "Add Players" unticked, at the game start only the actual players from the DB would be present causing the small sizes of the youth teams.

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[quote name='Sheffield Sunday']I'm afraid you cannot prove anything just by running one ten year soak test.

To get a feel for things statistically I'd recommend doing at least 20 x 10 year saves and giving us the statistical range in each of the categories given. That way we can 'normalise' some of the in-game events that may effect single saves. - i.e. administration/windfall events and the effect on squad building.[/QUOTE]

Over the years I've done this multiple times over. I don't need to do it again, because it's *always* an issue. this was just to test whether anything has changed. it hasn't.

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[quote name='Barside']There is one piece of information that would be interesting, average age of senior squad.[/QUOTE]

I can probably pull that one out pretty easily, when I have time.

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[quote name='Riz Remes']The jump in BSP youth squad size is likely due to the fact that at the start of the game quite a few BSP teams don't have fully modelled youth teams in the DB, even if they might have enough youth players in real life. And since the game was started with the "Add Players" unticked, at the game start only the actual players from the DB would be present causing the small sizes of the youth teams.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I'm not unduly concerned by that one, it's too badly affected by initial data.

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[quote name='Dave C']To see if things are stable over time. It's important, as if the AI isn't building strong squads, then the game gets easier.[/QUOTE]

I would have expected the size of premier league squads to continue to drop with the recent introduction of the 26 man squads, mid 30s would seem a reasonable size to include a few up and coming u21's and some dead wood. What I would be more interested in would be whether the AI Managers are able to build balanced and competitive squads this time around.

A) Do they buy players to fit their desired formations and gaps in their squad balance or do they still buy players they clearly don't need frequently
B) Is the AI able to identify and use a non preferred formation where possible that would suit their current players better and employ it where appropriate
C) What quality of players are the human and AI managers able to keep happy sitting on the bench constantly with very little game time and how long before these players want to play first team football
D) Is the AI able to identify potential talents within its squad and give them game time appropriately to help them fulfill their potential where possible

There were some good suggestions about ways this could be done over the summer on these forums and I had hoped some information would have come from the developers in blog series about these issues as they would make those long term saves more fun

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Dave C - Fair enough! Didn't realise that this was an ongoing project. My apologies if I came across short - I see a fair number of *proofs* in the fourm that aren't based on any kind of statistical analysis and it annoys me greatly, so thought I'd shout up on this occassion.

Do you have data for the other divisions rather than just top and bottom? What I suspect might be happening is that Championship squads are getting larger due to relegation from the top, and teams taking a gamble on 'making the big time'. Do you have anything to back up my theory?

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[quote name='PhatsUK']I would have expected the size of premier league squads to continue to drop with the recent introduction of the 26 man squads, mid 30s would seem a reasonable size to include a few up and coming u21's and some dead wood.[/QUOTE]

But FM doesn't sim trends, and it's not trying to predict changes in the nature of football. it should remain stable for how things are now.



[QUOTE]What I would be more interested in would be whether the AI Managers are able to build balanced and competitive squads this time around.

A) Do they buy players to fit their desired formations and gaps in their squad balance or do they still buy players they clearly don't need frequently
B) Is the AI able to identify and use a non preferred formation where possible that would suit their current players better and employ it where appropriate
C) What quality of players are the human and AI managers able to keep happy sitting on the bench constantly with very little game time and how long before these players want to play first team football
D) Is the AI able to identify potential talents within its squad and give them game time appropriately to help them fulfill their potential where possible

There were some good suggestions about ways this could be done over the summer on these forums and I had hoped some information would have come from the developers in blog series about these issues as they would make those long term saves more fun[/QUOTE]

You'll have to do all that yourself!

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Did not read the comments but it seems to make sense to me.

Players are getting more expensive -> Teams need to trim down on the amount of players -> Teams start taking in more youth to develop their own, thus cheaper, players.

Football evolves, squads evolve. Nothing stays the same, sorry.

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[quote name='Dave C']But FM doesn't sim trends, and it's not trying to predict changes in the nature of football. it should remain stable for how things are now.

You'll have to do all that yourself![/QUOTE]

That is fair enough, although I have a job already so instead continue my fm11 save and I'll be waiting for a body of anecdotal evidence to start to appear in the forums once people get that far in the game. As far as the overall number of players I thought that the whole idea was to reduce squad size and stop the biggest/richest teams stockpiling the most talented players IRL.

I still think that mid 30s is reasonable and could be a leveling off of squad size to meet the recent changes in competitions squad rules, however if the soak test was done over a longer time and continued to drop to low 20s then there would be a trend that would be more worrying.

Out of interest how many active leagues are you running for the soak? (A lack of players deemed to be of sufficient caliber could also cause problems in theory)

If the data can be collated easily enough I'd also be interested how many players in each squad were 'non-registered'/ineligible to play in the league.

Has there been any significant change to the reputation of the leagues with the DLR in place? How much is the average salary by club, how much is the total salary spend etc etc

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[quote name='Tommy_Styles']Did not read the comments but it seems to make sense to me.

Players are getting more expensive -> Teams need to trim down on the amount of players -> Teams start taking in more youth to develop their own, thus cheaper, players.

Football evolves, squads evolve. Nothing stays the same, sorry.[/QUOTE]

Again, FM isn't attempting to predict and model future changes. It reflects the game world as it is now, therefore it should stay stable. It doesn't, therefore there is a problem.

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[quote name='PhatsUK']I would have expected the size of premier league squads to continue to drop with the recent introduction of the 26 man squads, mid 30s would seem a reasonable size to include a few up and coming u21's and some dead wood. What I would be more interested in would be whether the AI Managers are able to build balanced and competitive squads this time around.

A) Do they buy players to fit their desired formations and gaps in their squad balance or do they still buy players they clearly don't need frequently
B) Is the AI able to identify and use a non preferred formation where possible that would suit their current players better and employ it where appropriate
C) What quality of players are the human and AI managers able to keep happy sitting on the bench constantly with very little game time and how long before these players want to play first team football
D) Is the AI able to identify potential talents within its squad and give them game time appropriately to help them fulfill their potential where possible

There were some good suggestions about ways this could be done over the summer on these forums and I had hoped some information would have come from the developers in blog series about these issues as they would make those long term saves more fun[/QUOTE]

This is the crucial part that needs overhauling. The number of players in a squad after 10, 20 years etc is important to know, but its the quality of those players, and therefore the AI squads, and subsequent game challenge, that is the real issue. Some of us tried testing this a few months ago on FM11 as its pretty well known now that AI squad building has been very poor for the last few games in the series. I doubt FM12 will be much different since nothing was ever mentioned in regards to wether or not this crucial aspect of the game was improved, or overhauled.

Now that the add league feature is here longer saves may become the norm now as people keep playing the same save instead of restarting a new one. So I think as the months go by there'll be a lot of posts on here by people complaining just how easy the game gets as the seasons roll by due to the declining and stagnating AI gameword.

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[quote name='PhatsUK']That is fair enough, although I have a job already[/QUOTE]

So do I, hence I can only do something quite simple like this.


[QUOTE]As far as the overall number of players I thought that the whole idea was to reduce squad size and stop the biggest/richest teams stockpiling the most talented players IRL.

I still think that mid 30s is reasonable and could be a leveling off of squad size to meet the recent changes in competitions squad rules, however if the soak test was done over a longer time and continued to drop to low 20s then there would be a trend that would be more worrying.[/QUOTE]

Sorry, what "whole idea"? From who? Do you mean FIFA and the squad regs? True enough, but personally I think the big clubs will continue to find ways round it.
Mid-30s is reasonable, and it may well be where things so. I don't think that's what will happen, and I think the Man Utds of this world will continue to stockpile players, then loan them out over a period of years. But that's a prediction, and that's not what FM does.


[QUOTE]Out of interest how many active leagues are you running for the soak? (A lack of players deemed to be of sufficient caliber could also cause problems in theory)[/QUOTE]

Only the English leagues to BSN/S


[QUOTE]If the data can be collated easily enough I'd also be interested how many players in each squad were 'non-registered'/ineligible to play in the league.

Has there been any significant change to the reputation of the leagues with the DLR in place?[/QUOTE]

No idea on either of those, I might have a look later.

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[quote name='PhatsUK']Right but have all the clubs managed to get rid of their dead wood and get their squad sizes down to useful levels, why would they keep players they couldn't register and/or use, it makes no financial sense in the rules that have been set for the AI in FM12 game.[/QUOTE]

As in real life, they'd be loaning those players out to other clubs. The bigger PL clubs IRL seem to manage those sizes of squad just fine, with a combination of loans and reserve football. Plus, all the younger player remain eligible whether selected for 25 man squads or not.

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[quote name='Sheffield Sunday']Do you have data for the other divisions rather than just top and bottom? What I suspect might be happening is that Championship squads are getting larger due to relegation from the top, and teams taking a gamble on 'making the big time'. Do you have anything to back up my theory?[/QUOTE]


When I've done this in the past, and I see no reason to imagine it's any different now, you actually saw the total number of players over the whole database drop. Players retired early (and there's anecdotal evidence around the forums that this remains an issue), and you saw all squad sizes drop down.

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[quote name='PhatsUK']I still think that mid 30s is reasonable and could be a leveling off of squad size to meet the recent changes in competitions squad rules, however if the soak test was done over a longer time and continued to drop to low 20s then there would be a trend that would be more worrying.[/QUOTE]

I'd also have to point out, this has been an issue in the game for at least 5 years now. So it can't just be an effect of the squad rules. That's just a convenient excuse for a long-term issue with the game.

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[quote name='Erimus1876']This is the crucial part that needs overhauling. The number of players in a squad after 10, 20 years etc is important to know, but its the quality of those players, and therefore the AI squads, and subsequent game challenge, that is the real issue. Some of us tried testing this a few months ago on FM11 as its pretty well known now that AI squad building has been very poor for the last few games in the series. I doubt FM12 will be much different since nothing was ever mentioned in regards to wether or not this crucial aspect of the game was improved, or overhauled.[/QUOTE]


This is purely anecdotal, as it's the impression I built up while compiling this data, but it looked like the squads were down to maybe 18-20 good players, often aging players, with the rest being younger players. So some questions there over squad depth. But that's not hard evidence at all, as I say.

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DaveC, please don't think I'm disagreeing with you because i'm not in theory. I agree that squad building on numerical, quality, age and positional distribution has been a problem in the past and most likely is again. I am not convinced however that a drop to an average squad size of 35 employing the rules that the AI is set out to follow (ie register 26, homegrown players, salary caps) shows a significant trend beyond the realms of plausibility yet.

That is why I asked for example about the number of ineligible players since the actual available squad size needs to deduct that, buying players they don't even register has been a problem in the past. (Taking account of your theory that bigger clubs would use the loan system to hold bigger squads, players over 21 who were loaned out would not be counted as ineligible as the AI has come up with a solution for their continued development).

[quote name='Dave C']This is purely anecdotal, as it's the impression I built up while compiling this data, but it looked like the squads were down to maybe 18-20 good players, often aging players, with the rest being younger players. So some questions there over squad depth. But that's not hard evidence at all, as I say.[/QUOTE]
From an anecdotal point of view, in this instance do you feel that there are players available in the game world that would improve the squads of these clubs and that would be realistic transfer targets given their values and the status of the clubs in question? Have the clubs 'wasted' their salary budget on players who are aging and no longer offer good value for money? Have they failed to develop their potential talents? No hard facts necessary, just your overall feeling of where it is going wrong is fine by me.

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Top work Dave C! :applause:

In my experience (FM 2011) the main problem of AI squad building is the lack of connection between the player search criteria and preferred (chosen) formation/playing stile. Furthermore it seems that the AI does not take into account specific qualities/characteristics of the existing squad, as well as need for any new acquisitions to complement those existing qualities/characteristics.

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Dave, I welcomed you back on your other thread and I'm loving your analyses. I'm on your side regarding the big picture, but I'd just like to comment on some issues here.

Firstly, whilst I accept and agree that SI doesn't go in for predicting the future, i do feel comfortable with patterns that can be rationalised by real-world projections. This the smaller PL squads for me can reflect the UEFA financial rules that will cause clubs to reduce their wage budgets. I like the idea that lower league clubs with have healthier youth set-ups; it implies that in the FM world there will be a strong reaction to the ugly decision this week to allow PL clubs to poach kids on the cheap.

However, in purely FM terms, I'd be very interested in the point Rez raised, which brings me to my second point. As a Lower League manager myself, I always tick the add players/add staff boxes since I don't want to be facing teams of greys. It looks like that makes a significant difference to your results, so I wonder if you'd be interested in running the tests again with that change (and maybe you can explain why you decided not to tick those boxes).

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[quote name='phnompenhandy']However, in purely FM terms, I'd be very interested in the point Rez raised, which brings me to my second point. As a Lower League manager myself, I always tick the add players/add staff boxes since I don't want to be facing teams of greys. It looks like that makes a significant difference to your results, so I wonder if you'd be interested in running the tests again with that change (and maybe you can explain why you decided not to tick those boxes).[/QUOTE]

Got fed up which is why I didn't return to this! Didn't tick the boxes as I wanted to compare real data to FM, not have anything being boosted by the game. Fully agree that it causes some problems, especially in that YT area. I might re-run this week if I can be bothered.


Personally, for me, the most concerning aspect is that you still get pro sides in FM with an inadequate number of players down the leagues. That just shouldn't be happening. I would like to see PL sides holding slightly bigger squads still, say 40. That would account for a decent number of younger players on pro deals being loaned out for development.

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The reliance on loans at lower levels in FM is another thing that should be sorted. I've noted clubs that obviously identify a weakness in their squad (let's say they lack a strong centre-half). They fix this with a loan, which is fine as a temporary measure. But then they keep contracting the players that have been deemed inadequate, and just loaning in the first-teamer instead. I'd really like to see the AI looking preferentially to getting the permanent squad right, with loans used more for emergencies, or as a reluse to a signing. Y'know, like in real life...

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I applaud your work, Dave, it's very interesting stuff. A couple of posts touched on the squad quality issue which is where I'd like to see more analysis. Specifically, if there was any easy way to generate some sort of overall squad quality index. I doubt that it would be an easy job (nor terribly accurate) but simply totaling up squad attributes in the aggregate and comparing averages over the ten years might be instructive. Could any of the editors somehow be used for this?

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This, incidentally, is even worse on the latest build. There are Premiership teams with less than 30 players between their Senior and Reserve sides, some have as few as 18-20, meaning they don't even fill a squad!

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[quote name='Dave C']This, incidentally, is even worse on the latest build. There are Premiership teams with less than 30 players between their Senior and Reserve sides, some have as few as 18-20, meaning they don't even fill a squad![/QUOTE]
This is something I have also noticed, a few seasons back on my save Newcastle won the Premier League with 16 senior outfield players & Manchester City just missed out on a top 4 place with a senior pool of 13 outfield players.

For some reason it only appears to be a problem in England & more specifically in the top flight.

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I think largely an issue that arises in every single league is the death of the reserve team. after 10 years (i frequently played 15+ years in my saves) almost every team has no reserve players, meaning a drop in squad size which is primarily down to youth teams not producing a sheet list of good enough players. You may end up with 1 or 2 players destined for the premiership (which is about right) but generally the rest are utter crap and dont get professional contracts, which in turn leads to smaller squads across the board.

Of course the other issue which has been noted is the AI buying players it doesnt need as well as holding on to ageing players too long, or alternatively (something that really annoys me) releasing them when they are 32 and these stars (often good enough for mid table teams) get no offers dont drop a division and thus retire. It frustrates me to see Ibrahimovic, robinho, robben etc retire at 32 when they would still be a star for most teams.

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As someone previously stated (and I apologize for not naming him) the problem lies with the mostly horrendous quality of youth players being produced. The problem is that in a 'class' of say, 15 players, only 3 will go on to persue professional careers. In real life that number would be fine due the the astonishing number of teams in football around the world, but in FM there aren't enough teams to compensate for those players. As a result, I usually just use FMRTE to mass edit all regens with a potential of 100 or below and raise it by 50. That, along with raising their CA by 20, allows most players to play professionally and make up for the lack of players in long term saves.

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It seems as if my save has produced one of the most realistic gameworlds, squad building has been great and the premier league has been competitive throughout.

I'm in 2025, so if anybody wants any stats or are just generally interested in what has happened over the years, fire away!

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[quote name='hursty2']It seems as if my save has produced one of the most realistic gameworlds, squad building has been great and the premier league has been competitive throughout.

I'm in 2025, so if anybody wants any stats or are just generally interested in what has happened over the years, fire away![/QUOTE]

I'm glad to hear this. I just started a career game in FM2012, and reading threads like this (probably exaggerating some issues in the game) sometimes makes me stop playing.

So, I'm curious, in your game, in PL, the team with the least amount of first team players has how many players?

Maybe the DB selection at the start of the game is effective here. I wonder if DaveC selected small DB, and only PL active maybe, whereas you selected large DB and many leagues active?

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Personally I think it is ok that teams with 45+ players in the roster no longer exist with few seasons down the road in the game. The game has 1 model for squad building which applies to all the PL teams, so it is natural that after a few seasons all the teams will have similar squad sizes. And if the squad size is 30+ I think it is good enough. So, instead of comparing the stats at the start to the stats in 2021, I would compare the stats in 2021 to stats in 2031 for example (granted that the squad sizes are reasonable after converging to an average number).

The game does not model the future, it does not predict the future, but the squad size for every team eventually converges to a number that is set by how the squad building is modeled in the game code. It does not differentiate between M.City and Swansea, hence both of these teams are likely to end up having similar squad sizes. The difference between them will be the players' quality, not quantity.

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[quote name='bleventozturk']I'm glad to hear this. I just started a career game in FM2012, and reading threads like this (probably exaggerating some issues in the game) sometimes makes me stop playing.

So, I'm curious, in your game, in PL, the team with the least amount of first team players has how many players?

Maybe the DB selection at the start of the game is effective here. I wonder if DaveC selected small DB, and only PL active maybe, whereas you selected large DB and many leagues active?[/QUOTE]
I started my game with a medium database with England (League 2), Spain (Adelante), Germany (Bundesliga 2.), Italy (Serie B), France (Ligue 2) and have since added Dutch (Eredivisie), Denmark (3rd Tier), Switzerland (2nd Tier) but have since removed England (League 1 and 2), Denmark (3rd Tier).

The club with the smallest SENIOR SQUAD size in the premier league is; Chelsea and Middlesbrough (21 players).

The past winners of the premier league can be seen [URL="http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/hursty17/Bristol%20City/BarclaysPremierLeagueHistory_PastWinners.png"]here[/URL]. It is worth noting that from 2011 to 2020 I managed Stoke City taking them up to 4th in 2019 before getting sacked a year later after a 10th place finish. I then took over Atalanta in Serie A for 2 years, then HB Koge in a newly added Danish League before returning to the Premier League Just this year to manage recently promoted Bristol City.

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This means you have pretty much the same problem actually. 21 is too small imo.

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Hardly, how many players does Man Utd have currently that you would class as senior squad players? I use this example because I know the team off by heart.

De Gea, Amos, Lindegaard, Jones, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Rio, Vidic, Evra, Fabio, Scholes, Carrick, Park, Cleverley, Anderson, Nani, Young, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez, Berbatov, Owen.

That's 24.

Most squads have around this amount.

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[quote name='bleventozturk']I'm glad to hear this. I just started a career game in FM2012, and reading threads like this (probably exaggerating some issues in the game) sometimes makes me stop playing.

[/QUOTE]

Why would you claim this? The OP has provided statistical breakdowns to backup his thesis.

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[quote name='hursty2']I started my game with a medium database with England (League 2), Spain (Adelante), Germany (Bundesliga 2.), Italy (Serie B), France (Ligue 2) and have since added Dutch (Eredivisie), Denmark (3rd Tier), Switzerland (2nd Tier) but have since removed England (League 1 and 2), Denmark (3rd Tier).

The club with the smallest SENIOR SQUAD size in the premier league is; Chelsea and Middlesbrough (21 players).

The past winners of the premier league can be seen [URL="http://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq15/hursty17/Bristol%20City/BarclaysPremierLeagueHistory_PastWinners.png"]here[/URL]. It is worth noting that from 2011 to 2020 I managed Stoke City taking them up to 4th in 2019 before getting sacked a year later after a 10th place finish. I then took over Atalanta in Serie A for 2 years, then HB Koge in a newly added Danish League before returning to the Premier League Just this year to manage recently promoted Bristol City.[/QUOTE]

Mr Hursty is misleading us. He added leagues thus setting off the exploding number of players bug. His game will have little in common with a player using a set number of leagues.

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[quote name='Bababui']Mr Hursty is misleading us. He added leagues thus setting off the exploding number of players bug. His game will have little in common with a player using a set number of leagues.[/QUOTE]
I think you will find that in my game player numbers have not increased dramatically, in fact genie scout currently says I have 129K not exactly a huge jump compared to some other games. It might be because I started this game as soon as it came out and that I haven't added any Brazilian leagues which seem to cause the most problems. Although at the last time of checking there were only 82K worth of players but since that time I haven't added any leagues, just removed a couple.

Also I don't think that this would matter either in the context of squad sizes and all, the players that are filling up the DB are very low CA & PA players.

Now you have mentioned it though, I hope my game doesn't break.

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My Fm11 save is in 2036, so I decided to check some of the opposition's team in this regard. Usually when I scout the opposition I want to know what formation they are likely to slot into, and who the key players are. But I don't particularly check for squad size, because they only get to put 11 men on the pitch, so my focus is always on the first XI.

Well, after being a little disappointed at first with some lowish numbers I don't consider it a problem. Why? Because even though Man City had an old average squad, and only about 23 players in the first team, there were about 6 or 7 promising 20/21 y.o.s loaned out by the Reserves, which means that even though their first team looks aging, and no sign of quality replacements, their players of the future are actually off developing at another club!

Meanwhile, I checked Lazio, who have been one of the top Italian teams since a tycoon took them over. I was a little disappointed at what seemed to be a lack of squad depth, not enough covers for positions. But then I looked closer. The 'manager' of Lazio had actually been quite clever, not only buying high quality players, but players who could play in multiple positions, as well! LM that plays LB, LB that plays LM, DMC that plays AMC and vice versa. I don't know how well those players play out of position, but it strikes me as quite clever, what they have done.

Most importantly, though, teams still provide a good challenge, and there are some very formidable players that you will come up against.

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[quote name='bleventozturk']So, I'm curious, in your game, in PL, the team with the least amount of first team players has how many players?

Maybe the DB selection at the start of the game is effective here. I wonder if DaveC selected small DB, and only PL active maybe, whereas you selected large DB and many leagues active?[/QUOTE]

Nope, Large DB, all players retained from active countries, all players from major nations, and about 15 leagues across 6 countries. The problem is the AI, plain and simple. It needs fixing, and it's being ignored year after year.


Incidentally, since I've provided the actual numbers, can you tell me how I possible exaggerated anything? I'm not some teenage ranter complaining that my super team doesn't win. I've been a researcher and tester for this game, for many years. I know how to look at these trends and identify problems. I quit testing precisely because I was frustrated at stuff like this being ignored.

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[quote name='bleventozturk']Personally I think it is ok that teams with 45+ players in the roster no longer exist with few seasons down the road in the game. The game has 1 model for squad building which applies to all the PL teams, so it is natural that after a few seasons all the teams will have similar squad sizes. And if the squad size is 30+ I think it is good enough. So, instead of comparing the stats at the start to the stats in 2021, I would compare the stats in 2021 to stats in 2031 for example (granted that the squad sizes are reasonable after converging to an average number).

The game does not model the future, it does not predict the future, but the squad size for every team eventually converges to a number that is set by how the squad building is modeled in the game code. It does not differentiate between M.City and Swansea, hence both of these teams are likely to end up having similar squad sizes. The difference between them will be the players' quality, not quantity.[/QUOTE]


30+ is fine, but we're talking about sides with barely 20 in some cases, no depth, no cover, no players being loaned out, tiny squads. That's the PL.
Go down the leagues, some don't even have enough for a starting XI and subs. How anyone can possibly defend this is beyond me.

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