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[Suggestion] Creating and setting up a reserve team through board requests

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For a lot of teams, this does not seem to be an issue, as many teams start with an option for a possible reserve, B-team or u23, or whatever they might be called. However, for some of the lower league clubs, such a reserve team does not exist, and as the team progresses to glory, the usefulness of such a team becomes ever more prominent. Sure, you could set up an affiliate to send your talents too old for the u19-squad out on loan, but it does nothing to keep your main squad backups match fit, when you make them available for the reserve team. There are a number of ways this could be done, but I will propose one possible approach.

By the end of the season there would be a board request option to set up a reserve team, in the same way you can ask for affiliate setups. The structure of this team would of course follow the rules for reserve teams in that nation, although I must admit I do not know to what extent these rules differ. The setup itself would take about half a year or maybe one and a half, thus having a team ready by halfseason. At this point it would be completely without any staff and filled up with all grey players with a skill level relative to the reputation and league level of the team (like most grey players, I assume). This would allow you about half a year to set up the staff and organize the players before the new season starts. You might be able to setup some friendlies, but they will not enter a league until the new season starts. If the reserve teams play in the regular leagues and not in a reserve league, I would suggest that they enter the league below the lowest possible playable level in a nation (or perhaps lower). That way they won't interfere too much with the teams otherwise promoted or relegated at those levels, which could possibly be odd when a new team suddenly enters a league. From there it would function as a regular reserve team.

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Where applicable it might also be possible to ask the board to enter the reserve team in a lower league?

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Good idea! Whenever I have little used players collecting dust or players recovering from injury in need of some minutes its such a pain to schedule a bunch of friendlies for the youth team to play in so you can legally send your guys down there to play.

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I had the exact same idea a few years ago. I am going to repost it from the wishlist thread. 

TL;DR: Ask the board to invest more in your 2nd squad if your club has one. After a few seasons of investment, it should pop-up in the lowest league.

Here is something that has been floating around my mind for a few FM editions and by being an ex-researcher for FM, I do somewhat understand how the game code handles certain things. Also, I am professionally involved in the world of sports administration so I see how these things work in practice as well. It is concerning the 2nd/reserve/amateur teams some leagues tend do have (Germany, Spain, Portugal, Russia etc.) and in my opinion this new addition would massively improve the game and add a new layer of "life" to its world.

Idea name: Reserve team reform (RTR)

Idea focus: Development of youth players

Game area: Board interaction

Development/processing resources required: None to minimal

Needed features already in place: 80%, needs a 20% polish

Real life-background: Some clubs have 2nd teams that they use for the development of their players. Very rarely, these are set as separate clubs, such is the case of some Ukrainian clubs where the clubs have to "loan" players there rather than send them to another squad/team of the same club. However, the majority of the clubs in question have separate squads which play in the same league pyramid as the main squad of the club. It is sometimes in many ways better playing the players in own 2nd teams then loaning them out since those players remain in the club's training system often receiving better training both in regards to facilities and coaches and continue their "Trained at club" period which is otherwise broken by loaning them out to another club. At the same time, they still remain available for the senior team as well in an injury crisis or for cup-competitions. Therefore, many clubs look to strengthen their 2nd teams in order for them to be more competitive in the higher leagues and therefore provide better playing experience for the young players playing there.

Game background: The FM engine handles this in a way where those clubs which have these 2nd teams can often utilize them in a number of ways. You can promote players from and send them to these reserve teams like you would do with your U-19 team. You will be able to do this with German clubs (e.g. Stuttgart II), Spanish (Barcelona B), Croatian (Hajduk II) etc.

When researching clubs, researchers have to assign certain values for each of the clubs in the database, including their regional origin. This is important if a club is relegated down the pyramid so the game will know where to assign that club in question. So, if Bayern gets relegated to the 4th divison, they will find their way to the southern regional leagues, rather than those in the north. The same way would happen with some other leagues which have this regional split somewhere down the line, either playable or unplayable.

The same is with the clubs/teams that are unplayable. The researchers enter their regional status and their current (unplayable) league or regional location.

So, when you have a lowest possible playable tier in a certain FM league (3rd in the German league if I am not mistaken), clubs which are relegated from that league will find their way to the next unplayable league which applies to their regional position (e.g. Bayern to Regionalliga Bayern, HSV to Regionalliga Nord etc.). This applies both to the main team (e.g. Schalke) as well as their second team if they have one which is always relegated one tier before (e.g. Schalke II will get relegated regardless of their position if Schalke gets relegated to their league). The game will then randomly generate "champions" of those lower leagues either through play-offs and promote them in the lowest possible playable league. For example, you might see TSV Havelse popping up in a few seasons or St. Pauli II. The game uses club/team reputation and random elements in order to fill the lowest playable league.

Game problem: If a player takes over a lower-stature club (e.g. Union Berlin) and leads them to glory in 10 or 20 seasons, they will never-ever be able to use their second teams in their full capacity since their second teams (e.g. Union Berlin II) will never get promoted to the 3rd Bundesliga since they were too far down the pyramid at the start of the players' adventure. Those players who tend to play longer games with 10+ seasons will see the same teams (re)appearing in the lowest leagues while some clubs will remain eternally locked in the unplayable divisions. Their clubs could be the best and richest clubs in the world with loads of money but once-big clubs such as Stuttgart for example might still hold on to their 2nd teams in the lower leagues since they were "good/high enough" at the beginning of that save. If Bayern II gets relegated outside the playable divisions, they will most likely return in a few seasons by this reputation/random factor. However, Union Berlin II, Hertha Zehlendorf or VFC Plauen will remain eternally locked in a league which is too low in order to be considered for promotion. Even if you buy an awfully-rated youngster from Hertha Zehlendorf for 20 million GB/EUR/USD they will still be too weak to get promoted, even if the AI re-invests the money into new players. Why? Their researcher-set division and reputation are just too low to be considered and there is hardly any dynamic there.

Suggested solution: Introduce an option where an established manager could ask their board to invest more money into their 2nd/amateur team if they have one. The money would be used by the board to actually simulate their efforts of bringing up their 2nd team through the divisions so it is available in the playable leagues and could be used for the development of their own players in a much better way. Any money needed could be taken from the transfer budget and used for that purpose (e.g. "The Board agrees that it would be in the club's best interest to develop an infrastructure needed to increase the development of our own players further. If that is to be achieved, the Union Berlin II squad should be integral in those efforts and should be brought at least to the 3rd Bundesliga. In order for this to be achieved, the Board will use 15% of the club's season transfer budget until Union Berlin II is promoted to the 3rd Bundesliga. After consulting the club's Director of Football and its General Secretary, the Board believes that this goal could be achieved within 4 to 7 seasons. Since you have been the manager for quite some time now, the Board has agreed to give the final decision to you regarding the playing squad of Union Berlin II - would you like to assign the Director of Football to manage the transfers of players to and from the Union Berlin II side until they reach the 3rd Bundesliga or you would like to do this yourself? The Board would like to remind you that you will be able to increase the percentage of the transfer budget available to the Director of Football each season or place some of our younger and veteran players there to help our amateur side on their way up. Keep in mind that some of our more established players will find it unacceptable to play in such a weak competition for anything more than regaining their form after an injury.")

On the other hand, you could also get: "Although the board in principle agrees with your idea, it currently believes that you have not been the manager of this club for too long and have not shown an affinity towards the development of young players. We therefore reject this initiative as we do not feel comfortable entering into a such long-term commitment with your current signing and management philosophy and time with the club." Another option would be that your transfer budget is just too low in order to reassign some of it to the 2nd team.

Final result: By talking to the board, the player would be able to ask them to invest in the promotion of the 2nd team through the divisions. The player could "speed-up" this process by signing players and placing them into their second teams (the games are already simulated, if you leave a player there for a few weeks he will get a career history entry like he played some games for them) or by increasing the transfer budget percentage available to the Director of Football. Also, signing better staff that is managing/coaching this team would also increase this chance and shorten the promotion period (this is already in the game, you can sign staff for 2nd teams in most cases). If the player plays his cards right, he will have a 2nd team in the lowest possible division of that league and will be able to place some of the promising youngsters there and see the team rising through the divisions. An ideal result would be to have a strong team in the highest division and a club in the highest possible division for those 2nd teams. Even if your 2nd team gets relegated through "the hole" at the bottom the playable division, they will return in a season or two if you ask your board or fill the squad with decent players.

For example, in real life GNK Dinamo Zagreb wants to have a champion-side every year in Croatia but the strongest team in the 2nd division as well, regardless of the fact that they cannot be promoted further to the same division as the first team. Their young players will always have great coaching and facilities, regular 2nd division football, "Trained by club" status and they will be available as back-ups for the first team always. The same thing is with Barcelona, Real Madrid and so on - they need 2nd teams as high as possible. Right now, the FM does not allow that for all clubs, only for those that were strong enough at the start of the game. By introducing this new feature, I am of the opinion that it would help massively to those players who prefer developing clubs through many seasons.

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