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smoelf

I have a dream!

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Or at least I had one. Until I realized it might be a bit more difficult than I had first assumed.

Hi. I recently picked up FM16 on a sale, and are slowly getting to terms with how it has changed. The last time I played Football Manager it was called Championship Manager 4 and player instructions were drag-and-drop arrows. When starting this time I thought that placing myself as a manager in a big club wasn't all that interesting and after lurking a bit one these forums I thought that managing in the lower leagues might be fun. I have always had a soft spot for Portugal, so I ended up finding a club there in the National Division. Furthermore, I have always found that developing narratives was one of the keys to enjoying a game, so after reading about people taking a team from the lower league to the top spot, I though it would be fun to lead Juventudo Évora to the top of the Portuguese Premier League by developing their youth system. It would make for a good story.

I have just finished the second season, and it seems it might be a tad more difficult than I had imagined, if not impossible. I'm not an expert at FM16 tactics, but I have done reasonably well those two seasons, even if I haven't been promoted. The problem is that my finances are horrible. From what I have read on these forums and elsewhere, the only way to develop your own talents and be competitive is by having really good facilities and coaches. So far I haven't been allowed to upgrade because of our finances, and from what i read, that is not going to get any better in the lower leagues. Which means I might have to use exclusively players from elsewhere in order to get to the top spot, so that I can get better finances to develop my own talents. But that kind of contradicts the entire premise of my current game. Which is not in itself a problem. It just means I might have to change my expectations.

But I do have a few questions to see if it is possible to keep the original idea alive, so I am wondering what your experience is with this approach. Is it even possible? Or at least plausible within about a decade and a half? I had also considered, as a final resort, giving myself a sugar-daddy, just to ensure that financial issues wouldn't be my primary problem. Would that enable me to upgrade my facilities in order to better develop my own talents? Also, I have an affiliate in the Regional Division, which is not playable. Would it help my young players if I sent them on a loan there, or would the level of football be too low for them to develop?

Thanks in advance!

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Don't focus too hard on finances and results on short terms. The finances are not that important because you don't need money to buy players and AI teams will get weaker over time and you can still get decent youth products without good facilities. Just focus on the players you have and on your tactics.

Over time you will get promoted, get more money, get better players etc. just be patiented. You will need a lot more seasons than only 2.

But I must say that this years version is a lot more realistic and difficult in terms of getting teams from a low division to the highest division with youth only.

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So your first task should be increasing your team's wealth then, no? Scour as much of the world as you are allowed to find young players who you can sign cheap, develop and sell on. At the end of each season you will probably get a message telling you about youth players released in your country, that's a decent place to start because they'll be free and will have time left to develop into better players that you can sell for a profit. Also, scout youth leagues and specific teams that are known for developing useful players. Obviously you're not going to be able to pry their better prospects away but there will be youth players at Porto and Sporting, for instance, that they will be looking to sell because they won't make the grade. A few seasons of doing this can increase your warchest. Using that money for better coaches and facilities is useful but also you can attract even better players to develop and sell on. At some point the goal is obviously to stop having to buy and sell other team's prospects but you need the money to keep upgrading your own club and staff and along the way you will pick up prospects that go into your own youth set-up and become part of your long-term plan.

It will take a long time - in game and in real life - to get where you want to go but as long as you get a decent understanding of tactics to keep the playing side ticking over then you'll be ok.

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One thing I have noticed is that is much harder to get "small" teams up to the top quickly. In one sense I'm kind of glad because it makes it much more realistic but at the same time it can drain you of motivation and makes you question why you bothered in the first place.

The key IMO is to build your reputation and finances gradually and consistently. Often, several solid seasons at the same level can be more beneficial than quick promotions. With the latter, expectations rise quickly and if you don't meet them then you're up poo creek. Once you make it to the top level then it becomes a little easier because the money is so much more inflated than at lower levels that your budgets increase hugely which in turn makes it easier to buy players and stick around at that level.

At the lower levels (and I only really know about England in this case but I guess its similar worldwide), it's a much better idea to bring players in who can get you to the promised land without sending you spiralling into debt. Once you get to the top then you can worry about infrastructure.

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So your first task should be increasing your team's wealth then, no? Scour as much of the world as you are allowed to find young players who you can sign cheap, develop and sell on. At the end of each season you will probably get a message telling you about youth players released in your country, that's a decent place to start because they'll be free and will have time left to develop into better players that you can sell for a profit. Also, scout youth leagues and specific teams that are known for developing useful players. Obviously you're not going to be able to pry their better prospects away but there will be youth players at Porto and Sporting, for instance, that they will be looking to sell because they won't make the grade. A few seasons of doing this can increase your warchest. Using that money for better coaches and facilities is useful but also you can attract even better players to develop and sell on. At some point the goal is obviously to stop having to buy and sell other team's prospects but you need the money to keep upgrading your own club and staff and along the way you will pick up prospects that go into your own youth set-up and become part of your long-term plan.

It will take a long time - in game and in real life - to get where you want to go but as long as you get a decent understanding of tactics to keep the playing side ticking over then you'll be ok.

He doesn't want to buy players!

One thing I have noticed is that is much harder to get "small" teams up to the top quickly. In one sense I'm kind of glad because it makes it much more realistic but at the same time it can drain you of motivation and makes you question why you bothered in the first place.

The key IMO is to build your reputation and finances gradually and consistently. Often, several solid seasons at the same level can be more beneficial than quick promotions. With the latter, expectations rise quickly and if you don't meet them then you're up poo creek. Once you make it to the top level then it becomes a little easier because the money is so much more inflated than at lower levels that your budgets increase hugely which in turn makes it easier to buy players and stick around at that level.

At the lower levels (and I only really know about England in this case but I guess its similar worldwide), it's a much better idea to bring players in who can get you to the promised land without sending you spiralling into debt. Once you get to the top then you can worry about infrastructure.

He doesn't want to buy players!

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In the lower leagues, he has no choice! How many lower league teams do you know that are able to produce whole teams of their own products? Crewe maybe. That's literally it. It's nigh on impossible to do.

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Thanks for the advice so far. I'm currently working my way through the fourth season, and can see that it is going to be a quite a bit trickier than I expected going in. But I'll see how far I get :)

Regarding the above comments, I might not have been as clear as I could have been in the OP. I do not have a self-imposed ban on buying players. So far it seems impossible to get anywhere near Portuguese Second League with only my youth players, so I will need to play "normally" for quite a while before I would have the stability to work on my youth academy.

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Nobody seems to buy players in the Portuguese National Championship anyway. What I get from my FM15 save there is that the whole division is run on free agents, loans, and a very small amount of own youth. Second League teams are only interested in getting players at the end of their contracts, which typically run for two years at most. Apart from the three top teams the whole nation appears pretty weak economically (perhaps in line with reality).

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Find senior affiliates, sell players for profit, and arrange friendlies with larger clubs; a healthy combination of these things should help at least a bit as far as finances. As others have said, though, the race is long. Pace yourself.

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