sposfan

Brand new to FM, several game and football questions.

337 posts in this topic

Good to see you're still playing Sposfan icon14.gif

To answer your question, long shots are not positionally dependant, as you put it. If a centre midfielder is 25 yards out with the ball and has been told to try long shots, he'll shot. If a Striker, defender or even a goalkeeper has been told to try long shots, they'll also shoot from about 25 yards out.

Hope that helps icon_cool.gif

And who's your 'real caree' team going to be?

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Originally posted by amack1n:

And who's your 'real career' team going to be?

Damn this forum and it's lack of edit options!

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Dappen, thank you sir!

Chuck Diesel, not just a canadian, a Montrealer! icon_smile.gif

Amack1n, Thanks for checking in again, as John Paul Jones (paraphrased) said, I have not yet begun to play! icon_smile.gif I'm sticking with Hartlepool, but it's strange, I invested a lot of time in my throwaway career and now I have to start all over again!

One other thing, I've been watching a lot of football games every night almost and lately have seen a few lower level games and boy, what a difference from the premiership! The pitches, the skills...it's really missing the "smoothness" and gracefulness of the higher divisions, but it gives me a good idea of the kind of football my squad is expected to play.

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Originally posted by sposfan:

Dappen, thank you sir!

Chuck Diesel, not just a canadian, a Montrealer! icon_smile.gif

Amack1n, Thanks for checking in again, as John Paul Jones (paraphrased) said, I have not yet begun to play! icon_smile.gif I'm sticking with Hartlepool, but it's strange, I invested a lot of time in my throwaway career and now I have to start all over again!

One other thing, I've been watching a lot of football games every night almost and lately have seen a few lower level games and boy, what a difference from the premiership! The pitches, the skills...it's really missing the "smoothness" and gracefulness of the higher divisions, but it gives me a good idea of the kind of football my squad is expected to play.

Hi from a fellow (italian) DMB player (probably the only one on the planet).

Don't waste your time watching english football.

They only run and never win icon_wink.gif

Gerry

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hey gerry!

Stop following me all over the place! icon_smile.gif

Too funny your commentary on English football, but I do also watch some serie A!

(haven't seen you on the DMB forums in a while!)

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Quick update:

Just started the friendly portion of my real schedule.

I bit the bullet and terminated my incumbent assman and signed a new one who is exponentially better. Terminated my scout as well and signed 2 new ones, one with the highest JPA I could find that would sign with me and then one with a high JCA who came cheap too. I then resigned my youth coach as a general coach so that I could have him work with my entire squad.

I then promoted the only player who might have a future from the youth team to the reserve team and am just letting the youth team whither away.

I then went through my entire squad, making notes on all my players and taking stock of coaches, assman and scouts reports on all of them.

Transfer listed a bunch of useless guys, but even lowering the asking price to 0 brought in a whopping NO replies, so they'll languish in the reserves until I can dump 'em.

Asked for a parent club and when the board got back to me it was a huge difference from last career with 3 premiership clubs lining up including Liverpool and 2 others. The 2 other clubs (forget offhand the names) each had only 1 affiliate club, one in China and the other in Belgium, while Liverpool had about 5 affiliates, including at least 1 in England ( might have been 2). The difference was that one of the other teams offered no financial help, the other offered about 35k and Liverpool offered almost 80k. I decided to follow the money despite the fact that the loans I would get would be less, due to all the affiliates. The 80k will be more valuable to a League 1 team than 1 or 2 extra players.

Sent my scouts out, with the high JPA being assigned to England and the other being assigned to England and next opp. Started scouring the transfer list for a GK and any hidden gems.

Found a youngish GK, who I managed to pick up on loan, so while I still need someone for the future, he's better than the current starter and best of all, doesn't cost me anything.

I also found a decent utility type player that caught my eye. His attributes would put him as a solid reserve borderline starter on my squad, but he was accomplished at like 6 positions and would be a valuable sub. My assman concurred with my judgement and I picked him up as a free transfer AND got him to agree to a cheaper contract as well.

Lost my first 3 friedlies as I played around with tactics and players and picked up a very good player on loan from my parent club.

I also got an offer for a good DC on my team with some upside. I wasn't planning on moving him, despite having decent depth at the position, so I countered their offer with one a decent amount above his value, which was about 50k, and they came back with an 85k offer, which really was too good to refuse, so off he went to pack his bags. He was solid, but not spectacular and my best player on my squad is another DC, and I have 2 younger up and comers to take his place so I sent him on his way.

That's it for now, more updates and MANY more questions to come!

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Nice. Thanks for the update!

Having Liverpool as a parent club should be very good for you, especially once you climb up a bit.

Do be proactive about chasing loan players from them - in other words, you can make offers to loan their top youth players, you don't have to wait for them to "assign" them to you of their own accord.

Its always very handy to have a utility man on the bench in case of injury, red card, etc. - actually, even if he's in the starting lineup, you can always move him around wherever he's needed.

Originally posted by sposfan:

Transfer listed a bunch of useless guys, but even lowering the asking price to 0 brought in a whopping NO replies

Did you "Offer to Clubs"? That's a bit more proactive than setting status to "Transfer Listed" & "Not Needed By Club".

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Amaroq,

thanks for the advice about chasing the parent club for loans!

As for the transfer listed players, I did offer to all for eac of them and received no interest. I didn't change their status to not needed though, would that alone make a difference?

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It helps, but only marginally.

The "new" team may be scared off if they feel that they can't offer him an equal-or-better role, and if they feel like they'd have to pay over the odds for a Key or First Team player.

It also makes the player more likely to accept the move, as he knows he's just going to rot if he doesn't move.

In the case you're describing, I'd definitely set 'em to "Not Needed By Club", personally.

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Thanks again, I'm off to do it right and will report back in mon commandant!

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One quick question.

Do players and teams have "memories"? In other words if I stall a team's offer or decline it will they hold it against me? What if I take a player on loan and don't play him too much?

Same for players or staff, once they agree to a contract, if I cancel it, will they refuse to sign with me later? What about if they're unhappy or whatever, once they get back to "their happy place" icon_smile.gif do we start over with a blank slate?

Thanks again!

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I just changed the status and offered to all again. I really love the fact that I can choose multiple players and change status and offer to all in one shot as opposed to having to do each one seperately.

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Nope, changing squad status did diddley, looks like I'm stuck with these winners for a bit more!

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Sorry it didn't help; still worth doing, I suspect. And yes, I don't remember which version that multi-select came in on ('07?) but its a huge help.

Originally posted by sposfan:

One quick question.

Do players and teams have "memories"? In other words if I stall a team's offer or decline it will they hold it against me? What if I take a player on loan and don't play him too much?

Same for players or staff, once they agree to a contract, if I cancel it, will they refuse to sign with me later? What about if they're unhappy or whatever, once they get back to "their happy place" icon_smile.gif do we start over with a blank slate?

Thanks again!

Not much, no.

The team won't, full stop.

Individual managers might remember you, and individual players might remember you.

Basically, there's a "favored personnel" and "disliked personnel" entry; I'm not sure how you get on them specifically, but for example praising an opposition manager might lead him to favor you, and slating might make him hate you. icon_wink.gif Once you're ON that list for somebody, then transfers and contracts get easier / harder respectively.

The lack of contract-offer-memory is one thing I've been annoyed at for a couple versions, and you'll see it in a number of places:

1. Team A inquires about a player. You tell them "I want $10M for him." They give up. A week later, the same team may inquire about the player again.

2. Player B may reject your contract offer .. and then sign a worse contract with another team a week or two later. Worse, he may simply not sign any contract at all, and "sit out" when he could be playing.

I'd like to see a "leave the offer on the table" mechanic at some point.

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Thanks a TON for the advice about being proactive about asking the parent club for loans. I just picked up 2 players off their resrve team whose value is more than my entire squad put together. Might try for a few more.

I did also get lucky with one player I changed the squad status of, just got an offer for one player and although there is no transfer fee, I do clear his wage off my books!

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"Addition by subtraction," we call that. icon_biggrin.gif

And regarding the loans - icon_cool.gif. It definitely helps!

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More updates and of course updates begets questions so without any further (freddy) adu icon_smile.gif

Unfortunately, I got my hopes up with the loans. While Liverpool agreed to the loans, 2 of the players turned me down. I managed to procur another loan or two of lesser players though.

Played 4 games, 3 league and one cup match. won the cup 4-1 (yay for me!), but lost 2 of the league games and tied the third. Got hammered with injuries in game 1 of the season, lost 3 players, all good ones, AND the best player I received on loan came injured, which I hadn't noticed previously.

Now, on the question portion! icon_smile.gif

Playing a game and my scout (small tangent here, I have definitely noticed a HUGE difference in the depth of scouting reports for my opposition with my high JCA scout as opposed to my crappy scout from last career.) mentioned something about using an anchorman in midfield. Exactly what does this refer to? I tend to use a 442.

Also, what, if anything, is a good counter to a 532 high tempo formation that likes the ball wide? I basically too my regular 442 and moved one of my strikers back to amc (he's accomplished there) with a farrow and game one of my MCs a sideways arrow to the left, since that's where his better players were, and my remaining MC a sideways arrow so that he would play in the middle of the pitch. My thinking being that I would use the moved striker to help clog the middle, my remaining MC would also play the middle and the other MC would try to force them to bring the ball up the other side or run into an extra defender if they ran it to their stronger side. Critique?

I also noticed one of the hints while the game was processing. It said something to the effect that when sending a player on loan that involves a fee, the player cannot be recalled. Does that mean that Liverpool can recall any of it's players on loan at anytime permanently or is just for int'l or cup matches?

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Anchorman - typically either a DM or an MCd. The former, you'd actually line up at DM. The latter, you would line up at MC but give fairly negative orders - a defensive mentality, rare forward runs, rare runs with balls, maybe even a barrow to DM.

I don't know for sure on your tactical question - it might be a good one to ask over in T&TT.

There is a "recall clause" tickbox when you negotiate a loan with a club. If checked, the team can recall the player at any time, permanently ending the loan. If unchecked, the loan is binding until its term expires.

The tip is just telling us that the clause can't be enabled if you're charging a fee - this used to be quite a cheat, in versions past: "Okay, here's the deal, you pay me 500k up front to borrow my player 'for the season', and the day after the deal goes through, I recall the player, meaning you never got to use him!"

If Liverpool "assigns" a player to you, as your parent club, rather than agreeing a loan, then they reserve the right to recall him at any time.

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In addition to what Amaroq said, I wouldn't worry too much about players being re-called early, in all my time playing this game I don't remember anyone re-calling a player I had on loan early. I might just have been lucky though!

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***WARNING: For those reading this who avoid tactical stuff stop reading now.***

Here's what an 'anchorman' looks like in a 442.

http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/3219/anchorman01pq1.jpg

My no. 30 circled in white is set to 'Forward Runs rarely', mentality first notch defensive. His central midfield partner no.8 is set to 'Forward Runs often' and normal mentality. You can see the difference in where they are as my left winger attacks down the byline (circled in black).

A thing to note here is that both full backs are on 'Forward Runs often' and normal mentality. In the picture you see below I am heavy favourites (4-7) to win at home. Setting

up like this is a good way to pin a team playing defensively in their own half as the two full backs plus the anchorman are in a position to pick up any clearances the opposition players make from crosses depending on which side I attack from.

Here's an illustration of what I mean with the same screenshot:-

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/9698/anchorman02pa5.jpg

Any clearances landing in and around the blue line my two players, circled in blue, should be favourites to pick up and initiate a second attack. In the following screenshot this is more apparent. My left winger has just crossed the ball into the box, circled in black, and clearances around the blue line should be picked up by my two blue circled players.

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/5787/anchorman03of5.jpg

I don't actually know how to counter this type of situation when it happens to me. In fact it can be very effective if you have two tricky strikers who can take on the opposing defenders as often any tackles that are made the resulting clearance will land at their feet. In the following the two AI opposition strikers, circled in red, are set up to position themselves off the two centre halfs (probably using the mentality slider). The no 16 in red has just picked up a pass from 23 red (black arrow).

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/2060/anchorman04am6.jpg

He then dribbles along in the red line in the image below. He beats my no. 12 center back but is tackled by my no. 3 in white. But because the two central midfielders circled in red are set up cautiously the ensuing clearance drops right to the no. 23 red's feet as indicated by the black arrow.

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/1820/anchorman05gd0.jpg

If you've got two pacy strikers with reasonable dribbling attributes this can be a great way to set up as an underdog.

As for your question about countering the 5-3-2 I don't know. Based on what you wrote is this what your tactic looked like?

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/967/sposfantacticxh3.jpg

Just from looking at the tactic in the match screen this creates way too much imbalance and

alot of space for the AI to exploit. Look at this screenshot and how the AM with farrow, left winger and left CM are all closing down (circled in black) and the gap between the central midfield partners as indicated by the white line.

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/4239/sposfantactic01zv5.jpg

That's against a 442, so against a 532 you could end up with 3 midfielders against 1 in the central area depending on how a passage of play unfolds. With the set up formation in the previous screenshot it makes it much easier for the opposition to get a forward running midfielder into the gap between the midfield and defense unmarked, this draws a centre back

out of position to close down usually resulting in a simple through ball to an unmarked striker.

Incidentally, Hartlepool?!?! You sure like a challenge don't you icon_wink.gif

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Wow! Thank you so much! You have no idea how big of a help that is.

Just lost another 2 games against top squads, the first one 1-0 with the only goal coming in injury time (argghh!!!) and the other...well, let's just say it wasn't quite as close as that.

The second game, the opp. played some crazy formation I had never seen before, with 3 forwards, the outer ones having sideways arrows to the near end of the pitch and I was thoroughly dominated, even though I went to a pretty defensive posture. Waas outshout something like 18-4 and I slunk home with my tail between my legs! icon_smile.gif

As for Hartlepool, I chose them for one simple reason. My first career sim was actually a football one as well, called one-nil, that I had read about in a computer sports game magazine. The reviewer had played as Hartlepool and since I had less knowledge than I do know (if that's at all possible!) I chose the same team he did and copied him for the first 2 years to get the hang of it. Since I don't really have a favourite football club, I decided to stick with them, especially since I had played so many seasons with them in one-nil!

Oh, and I'm married with 2 girls, so I'm already a glutton for punishment! icon_smile.gif

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Ok, took a close look at all your screens shots, and it's much easier to understand whilst looking at something than just describing it!

My tactic looked pretty much just like you depicted, and while it did work (that was the game I lost 1-0 in injury time to the top ranked team in the league, I can now see how i completely unbalanced my defense. What I think I should have done instead was simply move the striker I pulled back to AMC over a bit to the left and give him a sideways arrow to the left edge of the pitch, since that was the opponents strong side by a wide margin.

This would have been a lot less extreme than what I actually did, but thanks to trial and error and a ton of help, I'm actually seeing what changes actually do, and at this point, learning is a lot more important than winning.

I think my next task will be to start tweaking individual instructions. I did tweak the team instructions in my test and feel semi-comfortable with that, but I haven't really played around wiht individual instructions at all.

What I'll do is play a game that I won't save and tweak ONE particular instruction and watch the game to see how it works, and then move it back to default and tweak another, replay the same game and then so on.

Very time consuming and I'm always getting impatient, so I might just do it in my game, since at this rate I'll be sacked before long! icon_smile.gif

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Great stuff, isuckatfm.

One thing I'd like to point out is where his two fullbacks are in the first screen shot.

Just by setting them on Forward Runs often and Normal mentality, they've both gotten well up into the run of play, even with or even ahead of his anchorman. (If you refer back to my post, his #30 is what I meant by an MCd.)

I see people all the time with these crazy formations that include farrows from DR to MR, for example, and his example proves that that is not necessary. In fact, I suspect "forcing" them forward with a farrow, in that way, leaves the club a lot more vulnerable to a counter-attack.

(Of course, by not doing so, he's more reliant on their Decisions attr. - mental attributes become more key when you are "trusting" your guys to make the right decision!)

Showing how he has two players there to "pick up the pieces" is key - I'm definitely of the opinion that that's important to your defense.

isuckatfm, do you have any advice for how to set up something similar on corner kicks?

In FM'05, just having a DMC on "Default" was sufficient, he would do exactly what I wanted, but with '07 and '08, every setting I've tried to get somebody hanging out to clear the rebound has resulted in the player lining up there, seeing that there is no defender near him, and 'sneaking forward' into the box for the corner itself, which is frustrating me to no end!

Also:

I don't actually know how to counter this type of situation when it happens to me.

What I've found is an AMC or Striker with "Likes to Come Deep to Collect" will fill that hole pretty nicely. At least it gives you somebody who can fight for those loose balls until help arrives.

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Originally posted by sposfan:-

Oh, and I'm married with 2 girls, so I'm already a glutton for punishment!

3 against 1, I don't like the sound of those odds icon_wink.gif You should think about ending democracy in your kingdom as majority rule just ain't going to cut it icon_biggrin.gif

Originally posted by Amaroq:-

isuckatfm, do you have any advice for how to set up something similar on corner kicks?

I thought I would test corners out so I took control of two teams and altered corner instructions for both sides attacking/defending to see what would happen. Basically what appeared to happen (I use this phrase as I don't know for a fact and this is based on my observations) is that corner routines are highly sensitive to what the game code perceives to be conflicting instructions. When I set up what I thought were reasonable instructions players would often appear to be doing whatever they wanted.

So I selected the default tactic 442 and only made minor changes to the attacking corner instructions as follows:-

http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/2276/corner11ch4.jpg

This consistently gave me a player lurking outside the box at every corner. Not once did I see him drift into the box as I have seen my lurking players do in my current save game, he always stayed lurking.

http://img217.imageshack.us/img217/854/corner14aw3.jpg

What's interesting in this screenshot is that the players seem to behave intelligently relative to how the opposition is set up to defend a corner. The no 3 (red) for Arsenal is set to 'stay back' and not 'stay back if needed' but because I have all of the Man Utd players set to 'stay back' for defending corners he actually pushes into the box thus ignoring my instruction because he perceives it to be unnecessary to stay back. Whether or not this is affected by the 'decisions' attribute I don't know.

But their intelligence seems to be limited with regards to where they decide to lurk. In the following screenshot I have the no. 6 and 9 for Arsenal in red set to lurk, yet rather then spacing themselves out they just stand more or less side by side.I have drawn in where if I were one of those two players where I would set ourselves up just based on common sense.

http://img360.imageshack.us/img360/425/corner16qg1.jpg

Based on this testing I think it's impossible to achieve a 'three man spread' lurking outside of the box at a corner as indicated by the circles I've drawn in the following screenshot

http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/3484/corner14akv1.jpg

From what you wrote is that more or less what you have been trying to get your lurking players to do in an attacking corner situation? I've tried numerous combinations but as the screenshot 'corner16qg1.jpg' previously shows players set to lurk don't really position themselves in an intelligent manner.

I have little programming knowledge but I don't understand why it is possible to have the no.3 behave in a way that indicates he is aware of where opposition players are in the previous example, but when two team mates are set to lurk they can't be programmed to be aware of the fact that they are standing side by side and then be made to spread themselves in a way that even 9 year old players playing on a Saturday morning would do.

For me testing out the corner routines just reinforces the argument for a 'set piece designer' in the training module so that the Human Manager can position players in a way that makes sense relative to their instructions and avoid conflicting instructions which lead to players appearing to ignore instructions. For me when it comes to set pieces a well drilled team will do exactly as their manager instructs regardless of their decision attributes. The player delivering the set piece may not have the quality to deliver the ball perfectly but any player at any level can follow a simple instruction to run in a given direction.

Originally posted by Amaroq:-

What I've found is an AMC or Striker with "Likes to Come Deep to Collect" will fill that hole pretty nicely. At least it gives you somebody who can fight for those loose balls until help arrives.

I agree this works but I don't believe I should have to use 'workarounds' for what players should be doing out of common sense. Maybe their attributes like marking/positioning affect this but I refer you to a previous screenshot and say look at my two central midfielders no.8 and no.30.

http://img227.imageshack.us/img227/1820/anchorman05gd0.jpg

I have found this scenario occurs repeatedly regardless of how you set up your midfielders (all out attacking, loose zonal marking etc.), in that they both go tearing back to defend completely oblivious to the fact that they are clearly not needed. A real life top class midfielder would more likely take up a position so as to fill the huge gap between the Leeds backline and the Charlton midfield four. I can't find the original so I'll use that screenshot to illustrate what I mean. In the screenshot below the entire team is on normal mentality, yet the midfield four have gone chasing back unnecessarily creating huge gaps behind them. In real life top class midfielders would more likely take up the positions indicated by the white arrows because in the current Charlton attack it is their two strikers against my four defenders. Midfield tracking back is not needed in that scenario.

http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/5203/anchorman05acb4.jpg

I tried using reduced closing down and that did reduce their tendency to rush back in that manner, but it had the unfortunate side effect of the opposition team just holding onto possession in the middle of the park while my midfielders just stood and watched. Maybe my expectations of how intelligently players can be programmed to behave are too high and that general footballing common sense is difficult to implement. Or maybe it is there and I just haven't been paying close attention? I really don't know but what I have learned is that treating FM as a game and accepting player's don't have a 'brain' has helped to reduce my frustration at what I see and how poorly player decision making sometimes compares to what happens in the real world.

Sorry sposfan, I'm hijacking your thread and going waaaay off topic.

I've seen you mention a number of times about the opposition being stronger down one side of the pitch and you altering your formations to reflect this. This gives an interesting reflection of the difference between North American sports and football/soccer and exposes one of the limitations of a football simulation. In real life football if the opposition team has a star winger playing a manager won't unbalance a formation to ensure that player is contained. What he will do is instruct a player/players on his team to be aware of that star player and assist his team mate who matches up against said star player.

A perfect example of this would be AC Milan against Manchester United in last season's Champions League. I don't know how aware you are of real life footballers so if any of this comes across as condescending I apologise. Cristiano Ronaldo played on the wing for Man Utd in that match and is widely regarded as one of the best wingers in the world when he is on top of his game. Gennaro Gattusso was playing for Milan as a defensive midfielder in a nominal central position which was where he would sit in general play. But throughout the match what happened consistently was as soon as Ronaldo received possession Gattusso would go storming in to support his full back and prevent Ronaldo from being in a man to man situation. To use basketball terminology Ronaldo was basically 'double teamed' to nullify his threat.

This is something which you can't currently replicate in the game. The best way to deal with this type of scenario, assuming you are outskilled and unable to dictate the game, is to make sure you set up your winger so that he is in a position to track back and help out in defense. Different player attributes such as bravery, workrate, positioning etc. will affect this . Removing forward arrows, changing mentality etc. can help this but what I would suggest is watching matches in full and changing sliders to see these effects for yourself with your current player.

I've mentioned the 'balance' of a team numerous times and I should clarify what I mean by this and why it is important. Balance is exactly what it sounds like, it is the symmetry of the team on the pitch and how they occupy the space on the pitch.

In real life playing a player in an unfamiliar position can lead to inbalance. A perfect example of this is Steven Gerrard being played on the right hand side of midfield for England. As far as I know Gerrard has spent the vast majority of his professional playing career operating as a central midfielder. From playing this position he has developed natural tendencies which affect his instinctual movements on the football pitch. Thus when he played on the right hand side of midfield for England he would often drift into a more central position as his natural desire was to be involved with the orchestration of play, get on the ball, make a pass, get into the box etc. rather than operate as a classic 'hug the touchline' winger. This often lead to England's right hand side being exposed to quick counter attacks with the right back being outnumbered.

Setting up a tactic like the one in my previous post with the side arrows on the central midfielders creates inbalance as indicated in the screenshots.

The reason balance is so important is because football is fundamentally about space. When attacking you want to stretch the opposition, create space and exploit that space. When defending you want to do the opposite. Basically you want your line of players (be they defenders, midfielders or strikers) to position themselves in such a way that the space across that line is minimised and players are positioned in the most efficient manner possible. If you have an unbalanced formation (this can happen due to arrows, mentalities, closing down and defensive line) you end up doing half of the attacking team’s job for them by offering them the space to exploit without them having to work for it.

To illustrate this consider the screenshot from my previous post of the unbalanced formation with side arrows.

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/967/sposfantacticxh3.jpg

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/4239/sposfantactic01zv5.jpg

Just looking at this I can see a potential scenario that can occur because of the way the formation is set up in an unbalanced manner and the space this has created.

http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/7997/sposfantactic03ps3.jpg

1. The no.2 red currently in possession passes the ball to his team mate number 6 red as indicated by the black arrow.

2. When no.6 red picks up the ball, the no. 30 white is the nearest defensive player and decides to close down the no.6 red as indicated by the white arrow. At the same time the no.23 red makes a forward run as indicated by the red arrow into the space created by the combination of the no.30 white closing down and his central midfield partner no.8 white being too wide.

3. The no.6 red lays off the ball to the forward running no.23 red as indicated by the black arrow. Because of the unbalanced formation and resulting space he makes this run completely unmarked. The no.12 centre half is forced to close down as indicated by his white arrow, leaving the striker no.36 red unmarked.

4. If the no. 36 red striker holds his run, remaining onside he can pick up a pass by the no. 23 red midfielder for a relatively easy one on one situation against the keeper.

It is a domino effect of defensive players being dragged out of position all of which occurred because of an unbalanced team.

If the side arrows on the central midfielders are removed then the likelihood of that sequence of events occurring is reduced. I have to use the same screenshot to illustrate this so it might get a bit cluttered. In a standard 442 without the side arrows the no.8 white would probably have been positioned in the spot indicated by the white circle I have drawn.

http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/531/sposfantactic04xy7.jpg

Thus he would be more likely to have been able to prevent that sequence from happening by either blocking the intended pass or picking up the forward run of the no.23 red.

P.S. Sposfan you seem like a nice bloke unlikely to say you don't care about the real life ins and outs of football, so if you found yourself yawning while reading my little spiel about space just let me know and I won't go into details like that again. Also all of that is just my opinion on the basics of football and should be taken with a pinch of salt. But what I will say is that the consultant SI use from the footballing world is Ray Houghton who is an analyst for the station who broadcasts highlights of the Premiership in my country. From watching him go through video of matches and pointing out different aspects of football you'd be surprised how much of it appears in FM.

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First off, no need to apologize, you're definitely not hijacking the thread, any help I can glean is good, and if it's something that can answer an Amaroq question, all the better! Don't worry about being condescending in your explanations, if you assume I know next to nothing, you're still overinflating my football knowledge! icon_smile.gif

The more I learn about football and the game is always a good thing, and the way you go into depth with your explanations is extremely helpful.

P.S. Sposfan you seem like a nice bloke unlikely to say you don't care about the real life ins and outs of football, so if you found yourself yawning while reading my little spiel about space just let me know and I won't go into details like that again

Wrong on BOTH counts! icon_smile.gif Learning about the intricacies of the actual sport is a lot more helpful and informative than just being told "to counter this, do this". This way I can see the reasoning of why and can jump to my own wrong conclusions icon_smile.gif rather than just plugging in someone else's tactics.

The fact that you and others are willing to critique my moves and notions of the sport and game are what keep me trudging along.

The way you explained the consequences of my kneejerk tactic, the fact that it created a very unbalanced formation, made a ton of sense. I was attacking the issue more from a North American football way, in that each play has an end as opposed to the fluidity of football, where an unbalanced formation can be picked apart easily and often.

Oh, and as for being outnumbered in the female to male dept... My dog's also female. I just can't win, forget about democracy! icon_wink.gif

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isafm, it may have ranged well of sposfan's original topic, but I find it utterly fascinating. Literally the most educational reading I've had in quite some time.

Both your explanation of / exploration of the anchorman and your analysis re: corner kicks deserve, IMHO, their own thread, possibly in T&TT. Brilliant.

Regarding corners:

When I set up what I thought were reasonable instructions players would often appear to be doing whatever they wanted.

That's what's been frustrating me.

I'm very pleased with your observation that default instructions + lurk gives you a guy who lurks; every time I've tried it, I've been getting the "drift into the box" behavior, but I have to admit I didn't think of their regular instructions conflicting with their corner-kick instructions.

Your observation about where multiple lurkers would position themselves is spot-on; I hope SI take it onboard for FM'09 (That's part of why I think this might merit its own topic, just so it comes to their attention.)

I'd also like a defensive-corner-instruction which is opposite to "Lurk", basically, a way to set up a defensive player in the same location.

The no 3 (red) for Arsenal is set to 'stay back' and not 'stay back if needed' but because I have all of the Man Utd players set to 'stay back' for defending corners he actually pushes into the box thus ignoring my instruction because he perceives it to be unnecessary to stay back.

This, in particular, is behavior I don't want. If I'm ahead 1-0 in the 88th minute, and I set all four of my defenders on "Stay back", I honestly don't want them ranging forward into the box. I'd be content if, say, my fullbacks snuck forward into the "lurk" / wide positions which you outlined on your three-man-spread image .. but that's as far forward as I want them to range: not getting burned on the counter is much more important than making this corner an attacking opportunity.

- - - - - -

I hadn't noticed my midfield tracking back as much as yours does - I'll watch for it in my next couple of matches, and if they honestly don't, I'll try to identify why that might be.

It may just be that I've missed it.

Maybe my expectations of how intelligently players can be programmed to behave are too high and that general footballing common sense is difficult to implement. Or maybe it is there and I just haven't been paying close attention? I really don't know but what I have learned is that treating FM as a game and accepting player's don't have a 'brain' has helped to reduce my frustration at what I see and how poorly player decision making sometimes compares to what happens in the real world.

Hmm.

In FM'05, I did fairly well with a fairly rigid set of tactical instructions, but by the time I reached the highest levels of play, I found that that really prevented me from getting the most out of my team. I would be a top-four side, but never a top side, if you know what I mean.

So I started trying to ensure that my players made their own decisions - more knobs on the middle settings, more creative freedom, and a real heavy emphasis on the Decisions attribute .. and it proved to be what I needed to reach the 'next level'.

Since then, I've tried to emphasize player freedom, and yeah it doesn't work at LLM, but I've always liked the effects further up the ladder.

(That may be why my guys ignore my corner-routines so regularly. Hmmm.)

If my players make poor decisions, they're rarely poor decisions that I don't see the AI make, also, so I'm not too fussed about them.

Cristiano Ronaldo played on the wing for Man Utd in that match and is widely regarded as one of the best wingers in the world when he is on top of his game. Gennaro Gattusso was playing for Milan as a defensive midfielder in a nominal central position which was where he would sit in general play. But throughout the match what happened consistently was as soon as Ronaldo received possession Gattusso would go storming in to support his full back and prevent Ronaldo from being in a man to man situation. To use basketball terminology Ronaldo was basically 'double teamed' to nullify his threat.

This is something which you can't currently replicate in the game.

It doesn't work exactly like that in the game, but I've had very good success nullifying a top opposition winger .. and occasionally top striker, too .. with double-coverage.

Basically, I normally use "Zone" defending.

However, when I come across a team built on one super-star, I will set up two of my own players with instructions to "Man Mark" the player.

If its the opposition MR, I'll give the instructions to my DL and ML.

If its an opposition striker, I'll give the instructions to one DC and my DM.

Typically, the back-line player has "loose" marking, and the midfielder has "tight" marking. The idea there is, the midfielder shuts off the supply of balls to him, and the defender stays in position to keep him from making a breakthrough if he does receive the ball.

And of course, if he does receive the ball, both players are immediately in position to harass him.

It works a treat - it really takes that player out of the game. Of course, it does potentially leave other holes in your line.

- - - - -

Your scenario described, with the arrows, highlighting the problems of an unbalanced formation, was brilliant!

Exactly the sort of thing I could imagine a coach doing with a pointer and video after a match, or with chalk and whiteboard in an earlier day.

I've often thought of experimenting with an unbalanced formation, but even then, what I was imagining was pressing forward only with one half of the side, something like this:

<pre class="ip-ubbcode-code-pre">DL --> WBL ML --> AML

DC MC SC

DMC AMC

DC MC SC

DR MR v</pre>

with the idea being, the right side hangs back to help shut down a dominant left-sided winger, while the left side pushes forward to help generate the attack.

I've never tried it, though; I've always stayed symmetrical.

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Well, league win #1 is in the books!

Went with the standard 442 with no farrows on the wings since i was playing a better team on the road.

Scored just before the half on a nice run, although I know it's all the coaching! icon_smile.gif

Did some early subbing at 60 min. One of my MCs hit 60% and one of my strikers was getting close. I did a straight swap of MCs but subbed in a DMC for the striker to give me a much more defensive look. It might have been a bit early, but being winless and having the striker coming close to hitting 60% forced my hand. I still had another striker on the bench and another utility player who was pretty good defensively, so my last sub could go offensive or defensive, depending on what the score was.

I also set my team to more defensive and a bit more into time wasting at this point.

At the 76 minute mark, I made my last sub. Once again a bit early, but I REALLY wanted the win!

I pulled off my 2nd striker for my utility player who I installed at AMC. I this point I decided to try something new. I went to my DMC's tactics and gave him the free role, with rarely forward runs and extreme defensive posture. My thinking was that he would act as almost a tactical reserve, adding another body to the point of attack. He's a solid player with 100% conditioning at that point and I figured he could run his butt off for the remaining 14 minutes. Does that make any sense?

I noticed that he still seemed to go forward a bit more than I wanted, so I gave my AMC a barrow to the left MC, who I pulled back to DMC, and gave the remaining MC a sideways arrow to the right so they would play like a regular midfield line in defense. I also moved my original DMC sub (the one who had the free role) all the way back to DC, giving me a 5 man back line.

Held on for the win and as a matter of fact, seemed to carry the play too with several scoring chances as the game wound down and the opponents were forced to open it up.

Anything anyone can see that I did wrong, or should have done instead?

Thanks again in advance, off to bed to fall asleep watching some football!

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Congrats!

4-4-2 to 4-5-1 is a very reasonable defensive move. At sixty minutes might have been a bit early, but your logic is sound all the way through, and we can't argue with results - though you seem entirely focused on the win. My rationale at that point would have been "I'll go to 4-5-1 because, on the road, I'd be delighted with a 1-1 draw and I don't want to give up two."

In FM, its not uncommon for me to have made my third sub by the 70th minute - I'd rather give the sub enough time to make an impact. So it surprised me a bit to hear you call 76 "a bit early".

I've always thought of "Free Role" as "Exempted from your defensive responsibilities", in other words, an attacking player instruction, not a defensive player instruction.

For what you're thinking of, I might have given him high Closing Down, essentially asking him to range all over the pitch when the opposition have the ball.

To get what you were thinking of in the 5-man back line, you might have put him in the Sweeper role.

The end-game, 5-4-0, no strikers, sounds a bit extreme to me; I do have something like it in my arsenal, with an AMC, but its very rare for me to break it out, and I'd be unlikely to ask it to last for more than five minutes.

My 'ultra defensive' look is still a 4-5-1, with 2 DMC, though I can see why a lot of people are tempted to go basically 5-3-1 as a counter to the AI's attacking 4-2-4.

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Thanks Amaroq!

Yes, I had blinders on for the win, it was at the point last night where I was watching a hockey game, playing FM and ended up playing FM watching a hockey game! I knew I was in trouble when I started yelling at the freaking blue dots and trying to use body english to try to keep those errant passes in bounds! icon_wink.gif

Hey I wanted that first win dammit! icon_smile.gif

After I put the player on free role, I reread the description in the manual about it, and the way I read is the same way you did, which is why I took him off it. I didn't think about giving him high closing down though, I didn't realize that was the way to get him to act as a "free safety", but I'll be looking to do that in the future.

The 5-4-0 with no strikers was extreme, but I wanted the win and the AMC could have been moved up to striker (natural or accomplish at both) quickly if the situation warranted it. The player I put in at DMC was also rated as MC and 2 of my MCs are rated as AMs, so theoretically, I could have rearranged my 540 into a 442 quicky. I also thought that the opposition was much stronger than my team and being on the road to boot, I decided to go into a defensive shell.

In regards to the sweeper, that was my first instinct, but none of my players were rated to play there and I wasn't sure if they needed a rating to play well there or would be fine since they were all rated for the defensive line, so I took the safe route for once and just stuck him on the line.

I've really got to take a good in depth look at all my players and start setting up some individual instructions to take advantage of whatever little strengths they have. From what I understand of the game, I'm better off trying to keep the same formation for the most part where possible and using the individual and team instructions to modify their behaviour, since it seems a lot less extreme than changing the entire formation.

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Hahahah... yeah, welcome to the club, officially, then! icon_biggrin.gif You don't truly belong until you've started either trying to use body english, or use the mouse to show him where to pass. (Which has the same effect: i.e., placebo only!)

That last matches my understanding, too - its easier to tweak instructions to the players than to modify the entire formation. In fact, on my last "highly tuned" save, I had favorite "Individual Instructions" for about six key players, different from what their "like for like" replacement players would have been instructed to do. I spent probably five minutes or so each match tweaking Indivividual Instructions to my personnel for the day, more so than to the opposition. I think that may be a bit overkill... but it was getting results, so. icon_biggrin.gif

The flexibility out of the 5-4-0 makes it much much more sensible in my mind. I didn't read it that way at first; sounds like you've a very flexible group of players at your disposal.

Re: closing down for the DMC, I know a lot of people who swear by it. Personally I wind up - in my usual diamond-4-4-2 - with it on *low*; I want the player to stay home and clog the area right in front of the arc, preventing long shots, not go haring off all over the pitch like a Junior Seau.. icon_wink.gif

.. however, for the situation you were suggesting: fresh-legged DMC for the final 30 minutes of a match you're defending anyways, where you really did want him to range sideline to sideline, I think it would have given you the look you are imagining. (And would probably have worked, too.)

I'm going to be afk for about a week.. hope all goes well in the interim! icon_wink.gif

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originally posted by Amaroq:-

I hadn't noticed my midfield tracking back as much as yours does - I'll watch for it in my next couple of matches, and if they honestly don't, I'll try to identify why that might be.

It may just be that I've missed it

For the screenshots I showed there and noticed that tracking back behaviour, I was using the default 442 Normal to give sposfan a comparison with his own tactic. When I reloaded to continue playing with my usual 4132 tactic they didn't seem to track back as much.

One possible explanation for this is in the 442 normal the 2 central midfielders are on normal closing down but in my 4132 I have the 3 central midfielders on high closing down. So because my central midfielders in the 4132 are closing down higher up the pitch and straying from position it means they are more likely to get caught behind the forward moving opposition central midfielders during a transition in the play. This in itself would give the perception of not tracking back effectively.

But I still think my original statement about the central midfielders making poor decisions stands, but it is just a game after all. To expect them to make rational decisions is probably a bit far fetched, particularly when I still don't 100% know the effects of different sliders and how they combine.

Originally posted by Amaroq:-

So I started trying to ensure that my players made their own decisions - more knobs on the middle settings, more creative freedom, and a real heavy emphasis on the Decisions attribute .. and it proved to be what I needed to reach the 'next level'.

Since then, I've tried to emphasize player freedom, and yeah it doesn't work at LLM, but I've always liked the effects further up the ladder.

Your approach versus mine pretty much sums up the reason why there is so much frustration with the tactical side of the game. I changed to tactics with really low creative freedom, despite having top class players, and my form improved drastically leading to a couple of Premiership titles. There are so many variables interacting that to suggest one slider as the answer to tactical issues, as I’ve seen done in the Tactics forum, is pointless without reference to the tactic as a whole. For me this is one of the core reasons for the constant back and forth sniping that seems to be a regular occurrence on this forum lately, but what can you do. Both sides are polarised to the point where one errant adjective or misinterpreted post leads to pages of insults being thrown back and forth.

Actually having written that maybe we’ve stumbled across a link between specific player instructions and creative freedom that I personally hadn’t considered before. The more specifically you instruct your players the lower the creative freedom should be? Or it could just be a coincidence.

Thanks for the tips on 'double teaming'. I'll give that a shot when I start playing the game again, but I've decided to end my FM career for the moment as the constant enquiries/transfer bids for all of the youngsters I scout and buy has just tipped me over the edge icon_mad.gif

Like yourself I also experimented with unbalanced formations, one for attacking down the left and one for attacking down the right. Basically I was trying to position my players so that they would form triangles and give each player a minimum of two passing options at any given time. To say it was a disaster would be an understatementicon_biggrin.gif

originally posted by sposfan:-

Well, league win #1 is in the books!

icon14.gif Here's how the original AI Hartlepool manager did in 2007/2008 in my game:-

OVERALL

W 8, D 17, L 21, GF 45, GA 71, GD -26, 41 points; Finished 24th

HOME

W 4, D 10, L 9, GF 23, GA 35, GD -12, 22 points

AWAY

W 4, D 7, L 12, GF 22, GA 36, GD -14, 19 points

That should give you a point of reference, and to be honest saving them from relegation in your first ever full season as an FM player would be quite an achievement given their poor squad. In my first season on the more complex FM 2007 (it was my first new version since 01/02) I got sacked by Arsenal while lying 17th in the Premiership in January, a team which many people on these boards regarded as a team that 'their granny could win the Premiership with'. So having 'armchair fan' knowledge of football doesn't necessarily equate to being better at the game icon_smile.gif

I would second everything Amaroq said about the 541 and agree 100% that having 2 DM Cs is a very effective defensive countering strategy. Basically you defend with 6, but keep your wingers and strikers far enough advanced to exploit gaps left by the AI when they go all out attack and start committing their full backs forward.

originally posted by Amaroq:-

Re: closing down for the DMC, I know a lot of people who swear by it. Personally I wind up - in my usual diamond-4-4-2 - with it on *low*; I want the player to stay home and clog the area right in front of the arc, preventing long shots, not go haring off all over the pitch like a Junior Seau..

That's my approach to it in general. But if the opposition forward moving central midfielder has a good off the ball attribute and you see him drifting into the gaps it can be effective to set your DM to specifically man mark him. But you should make sure that the his central midfielder partner isn't bombing forward in conjunction, as your man marking DM will leave gaps behind him for the other central midfielder to move into.

I had a match against Liverpool where this scenario was happening against Steven Gerrard who is a world class midfielder in the game and he was drifting into the gaps from his central midfield position and causing havoc. The match was too far back so I can’t access the match report to look at screenshots but I’ll try to replicate what happened using paint.

In the following screenshot Leeds in white are playing a 4132 and Liverpool a 442 SF. Leeds just attacked and had a chance and Liverpool are now countering with their left back in possession of the ball:-

http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/8718/413201ul5.jpg

In the same screenshot I have highlighted Steven Gerrard behaving as the attacking midfielder in a 442 (often referred to as MCa in the tactical forum). The arrows indicate where my central midfielder is returning from (white arrow) and Steven Gerrard is returning from (the red arrow) in the previous Leeds attack. Because of me committing my central midfielder forward it has left a huge gap for Gerrard to move into. Also note how cleverly he is playing because of his excellent mental attributes (off the ball, decisions). He sees the gaps and moves into it, and is probably set on an attacking mentality with forward runs often.

http://img87.imageshack.us/img87/8828/413202cd1.jpg

An important thing to point out in this screenshot is that it illustrates how closing down and marking appears to behave in the game. From watching matches the conclusion I have come to is that players are programmed to have a ‘dangerzone’ which I visualise as a circle which surrounds the player with him as the centre. How you set a player’s marking style and closing down will affect the size of this circle and how a player behaves in relation to it (attributes such as determination, bravery, work rate and positioning play a role also). This is the reason my DM C doesn’t close down Gerrard as he has not entered his ‘dangerzone’.

This ‘dangerzone’ behaviour and my central midfielder not getting back quickly enough has left this big gap for Gerrard to operate in. If the Liverpool make the right passes then they could slice my defence apart with Gerrard tearing into the heart of the defence as follows:-

http://img216.imageshack.us/img216/1314/413203rp4.jpg

1. The Liverpool left winger in red makes a run to the left (the red arrow) dragging the Leeds right back in white with him (the white arrow). Then the full back makes a pass to him (black arrow).

2. The Leeds full back being dragged out of position creates a gap for Gerrard to run into (the red arrow). One simple pass from the winger and Gerrard is through on goal (the red arrow) while my DM is completely bypassed.

So to counter this I set my DM to specifically man mark Gerrard because I knew their other central midfielder was acting as a holding midfielder/anchorman and was unlikely to be running into the gaps. I also set my advanced central midfielder to man mark the holding midfielder so he wouldn’t be sweeping up every loose ball with ease. This was the best solution but the effectiveness of man marking the anchorman was reduced as my central midfielder in that case is nominally an attacking midfielder with a low marking attribute.

I’ll also point out that I felt confident in this set up because I felt my full backs were capable of dealing with their wingers in a man to man scenario. With my 4132 when I feel my fullbacks might need help I give the two outer central midfielders back arrows to the position in front of the full backs as follows:-

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/4108/413204qw8.jpg

Just to reiterate those images were done from memory so I can’t be 100% definite about how exact they are, but the next time I’m playing and see that happening, if I remember I’ll throw a few screenshots up.

My advice would be to watch matches in full and play around with the sliders until you see the players behaving the way you want them to.

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Wow, can't believe it's been so long since my last update, but I've been playing the heck out of the game lately.

I've now played 29 games and after going 4-11-3 with a diamond formation, I went back to a simple 442, with my main tweaks being farrows for my MR & ML for certain teams. The only other thing I did was for team instructions was to move the mentality and creative freedom 2 ticks to the left and my play with a deeper defensive line (3-4 ticks to the left) and have counterattacks checked off.

I'll change the team instructions during the game based on the situation such as more offensive or defensive and more or less time wasting, but that's about it.

The result? Although I lost in the first rd of the Johnstone Paint cup, I did make rd 2 of the english league cup and round THREE of the FA cup, tying West Ham in rd 3 before losing to them 4-1 and my league record since the changes is 6-3-2, for an overall record of 10-14-5, safely (for now) in mid pack in the league table.

One other thing I do is actually go in and scout the opposing players, rather than simply relying on my scouting report. I make not of players with a bravery rating of 10 or less and anyone with a foot rated weak or worse and use my opposition instructions to hard tackle and force onto weaker foot for the applicable players. I originally tried just forcing everyone to a weaker foot, but after 2 games of being dominated, went this route and it seems to work fine.

Questions: Is there any drawback to trying to force players to their weaker foot? Should I simply target all players to do that?

Other "accomplishments" include selling a decent player for 80k and then another one later on, who was languishing on my reserve squad with no chance of promotion for 22k. I'm playing with 5 players on loan, all better than the rest of my squad and all playing for free!

I've been judicial in my signings too, I signed a utility type player on a free transfer and he's paid off huge, and has in fact moved up into my squad rotation. I also signed a young (19yr old) GK for the future, for 8k, who my assman rates as a 5 star player and my high rated JPA scout rates as a 7 star player.

I also went through my players and extended those players I planned to build around for as long as I could for as cheap as I could.

I'm currently being hit with injuries and suspensions and in the 2nd transfer window, I've made several offers for players to give me more depth, all free or under 10k and all to be signed to a 1 year deal so I can jettison them after the season ends.

I've tweaked a few training regimens, but not as much as I should have, and although I still use my assman to suggest a lineup, I have no problem making a few changes and overruling him.

I've also studied my players more, and after watching most of my games from start to finish have realized that mental and physical attributes are more important in most cases than technical ones.

A few other random thoughts... I like the way the ref actually calls the players over to talk to them or book them. I HATE the fact that some of the crowd noises include what sounds like whistles!! I'll hear it and it just throws me since I expect play to stop!

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originally posted by sposfan:-

Wow, can't believe it's been so long since my last update, but I've been playing the heck out of the game lately.

I thought you'd hit that FM brick wall of frustration and given up icon_wink.gif

Mid table with Hartlepool icon14.gif

originally posted by sposfan:-

Questions: Is there any drawback to trying to force players to their weaker foot? Should I simply target all players to do that?

I did some testing on the show onto foot instructions here:-

http://community.sigames.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/1519717/m/3872090863

The focus was on showing wingers to the inside (left winger show onto right foot and right winger show onto right foot) but you can probably use the same logic to figure out the effects of different instructions.

Some people doubt their effect so you might want to read their opinions in here:-

http://community.sigames.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/521102691/m/7272046763

Also some tips on using show onto foot when your scout recommends to ‘concentrate on stopping their strikers from receiving the ball to feet as they should not pose an aerial threat’ here:-

http://community.sigames.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/1519717/m/6922005863

originally posted by sposfan:-

I've also studied my players more, and after watching most of my games from start to finish have realized that mental and physical attributes are more important in most cases than technical ones.

You figured that one out a hell of a lot quicker than I did. It became my rule of thumb for playing at lower levels when I figured it out on 07. Pacy wingers + pacy strikers = lethal combination because the supply of quick defenders dries up the lower down the footballing ladder you go.

originally posted by sposfan:-

I'm currently being hit with injuries and suspensions and in the 2nd transfer window,

The not so benevolent FM gods strike again. In a previous version people were convinced there was some kind of bug that liked to injure all available left wingers or strikers simultaneously, which coincidentally would happen at the worst possible time. Read into that what you will icon_wink.gif

One more tip as you approach the end of the season beware the end of season slump, or more commonly referred to as 'aquaplaning'.

If you have reasonable back up players try to rotate and rest your key players so they still have a bit of get up and go as the season reaches it's climax. Each player has a hidden attribute which measure their 'jadedness' but as far as I can tell this only becomes visible in the game when it reaches a bad point and a player will get a symbol next to them. 'Rst', indicating they are in need of a rest. The reason this hidden attribute is important is because it behaves just like in real life sports and affects how quickly a player's condition will drop in a match (in conjunction with Fitness in the Training>Overview part of a player's profile). The worse a player's condition is, the bigger the negative effect on their performance (the match engine probably alters player's attributes when calculating what will happen to reflect their condition).

Also for your more determined, professional players try criticising them in the media if they hit a rut in form. But be careful as a wrongly chosen media blurb can do some serious damage to moral.

Also if you have some youngsters in your first team who have shown themselves less than capable of dealing with pressure it is often better to play a wiser, older head who is not quite as good but is more likely to perform better in high pressure matches.

Another way around this is to completely ignore the pre match comments, don't even click on no comment. It might not be playing the game realistically but every little helps icon_wink.gif. But if you have found that the personality of your usual first eleven is such they all respond to the pre match comments in a similar manner then you can easily use these to boost morale prior to a match.

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Oh. My. God.

Just had an array out of bounds error when offering a player a contract, was able to continue, played a few more days and then exited the game. Went back in just now and I get an error message "cannot load saved game". Did a quick search (and post) in the troubleshooting forum), as well as looked in the bug forum and it appears that I'm spit out of luck. Unbelievable. Luckily I've been documenting a lot of tactical stuff here, so if I do have to restart, I'll at least have a leg up, but it's almost devastating, having finally gotten the squad to gel so that I was in 10th place when I left.

Isuckatfm, nope haven't given up, just been busy playing! I'm not worried about the end of season slump, if it happens, it happens!

Without even knowing about it, I was already rotating players in an out more often than at the start of the season and have in fact already rested a player or 2 to keep them fresh for the end game, mainly older players for the most part, with lower stamina and/or fitness.

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Thanks also for the hints about the pre-match comments. Sometimes I do comment and sometimes I don't. I have noticed that certain players do get a PR when I do, depending on what I say.

One other thing I noticed in the hints while the game is saving or loading was that as I was wondering when I first started, befriending or commenting positively on another manager can lead to them being more likely to accept transfer requests, so if I see a player I might want to try for I'll try buttering up his manager beforehand.

2 QUESTIONS!

1) Is it possible for players who suffer a knock and lose a ton of conditioning to regain the lost conditioning in the same game? One of my players received a knock and I could swear I saw his conditioning drop to about 52. I was going to replace him, but figured I'd try to hold off til the half and at the half (10-15min later) his conditioning was up to 79%

2) Is there anny way to show my entire squads fitness (match fit, lacking match fitness etc...) on one screen, or do I have to flip through each one individually?

Thanks again for all your help, really hope I don't have to restart!

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isuckatfm,

just read those 3 posts you pointed me to and I have one question.

Can I get you and amaroq listed as my tutors on my "card"? icon_biggrin.gif

Seriously, if it weren't for the 2 of you and all the others who have taken the time to help me learn the game, I'd never be anywhere close to where I am now, so a sincere thank you all!

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Originally posted by sposfan:

Just had an array out of bounds error when offering a player a contract, was able to continue, played a few more days and then exited the game. Went back in just now and I get an error message "cannot load saved game". Did a quick search (and post) in the troubleshooting forum), as well as looked in the bug forum and it appears that I'm spit out of luck. Unbelievable. Luckily I've been documenting a lot of tactical stuff here, so if I do have to restart, I'll at least have a leg up, but it's almost devastating, having finally gotten the squad to gel so that I was in 10th place when I left.

Thats a real shame, but prevention is the best cure. Go onto preferences and set the game to auto save every week on five game rolling save. It will automatically make multiple backs ups and takes hardly any time.

To answer your first question, a player can get a minor injury and lose a lot of fitness, but he can still play on. As you correctly noticed, he;ll regian his fitness for a short while, but overall he will still have lost a lot of energy

You can't really see match fitness rating for multiple players at once. However, instead of selecting a player, then going back and selecting another player, there's a quicker way. Right at the bottom of the screen, slightly to the left, it'll say the name of the club you're looking at, the nation and league they're in and the player you're loooking at, and each will have a symbol which is a downwards arrow in a circle next to them. Selecting the one next to the player's name will bring up a list of all players in the same club as him, which will make it quicker to scan through your own team. The same method can be used to look at squads in the same division, divisions in the same nation etc.

Hope that helps icon_cool.gif

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Thanks amack1n!

I checked my preferences and I did have the autosave checked off, with it saving every month with 3 rolling files. I checked the SI folder in My DOcuments, but nothing there. Looks like it's back to the drawing board for me.

The sad thing is that I back up regularly to an external HD, but I've played so much in the past week or so, that restoring that is almost like restarting, so I might just restart, implementing all that I have learned right from the start.

The other good news is that at least I was smart enough to save my tactics, so I won't have to rebuilt THAT from scratch!

As for looking through players' match fitness, I usually just use the quick flick buttons on the top, but it would be nice to be able to see that all on one screen so that I can see at a glance if there's anyone who needs to be sent to reserves to get into game shape.

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Originally posted by sposfan:

I checked my preferences and I did have the autosave checked off, with it saving every month with 3 rolling files. I checked the SI folder in My DOcuments, but nothing there.

Checked off? You wanted it checked on.

Any, good luck with the new game.

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STARTING OVER

Since I'll be starting over, here's my checklist of things to do right off the bat, before I start playing matches. Am I leaving something out?

-sack my assman, scout and 1 extremely poor coach. I'll take the monetary hit and make it up by getting better players and better training and winning more matches. If I can win a few rounds in the cups, I can easily make back their severence pay.

-place adverts and search for better backroom staff. I'll hire 2 scouts, one with a high JPA and the other with a high JCA, my reasoning being that it's a lot cheaper to hire 2 flawed scouts that 1 good one and this way I can use my high JCA to scout the next opponents and search for short term replacement players, and use my high JPA for searching for long term players. I also want better coaches to help with training.

-ask for a parent club

- look for some good potential loans and free transfers or at least low cost transfers.

- transfer list all my garbage players, down to 0 if that's what it takes.

-promote/demote my squad so that my worst players are at least shoved to the reserve squad.

- set up the training regimens properly right off the bat.

-print out the last 2 pages of this thread to read over! icon_smile.gif

Have I missed anything, or would you do anything different?

Thanks again!

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amack1n,

sorry, north american terminology, checked off meant I did have the check mark in the box to activate it.

Sorry 'bout that!

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Time for an update and a few questions, which I'll throw in the next post so they won't get lost.

Restarted (again!) with Hartlepool after the save game corruption.

Managed to get the same assman I had in my original game and then picked up 3 scouts (one more than the last game.. hey they let me, why not!) and one more coach. Paid a lot more attention to the coaching staff this time around, looking for inexpensive coaches with deep flaws, who at least were solid in 1 area.

Didn't get quite the good deal with a parent club, but did alright. The sent me 2 players on loan, unfortunately niether are good enough for my starting 11, so I stashed them on my reserve squad. I did however, manage to procure from them a very solid young GK (who now says he would consider signing on with me), with technical ratings in the 13-15 range, good mental ratings (11-13 in all) and good physical ratings (11s and 12s with a 16 in fitness), who I immediately named my starting GK.

Also picked up a striker/MR who is in my rotation.

My only signing (on a free transfer) was the same utility player as last game who plays all down the right side and DC and MC to boot. He's played so well, he's in the rotation too.

After my friendlies, I tried to upgrade my ML, but no luck on the transfer market so I went looking for loans. Managed to snag a very good one for 3 months and then when his loan expired and would not renew, picked up another ML for the next 3 months.

In regards to the overall growth of my team, I decided on my future core and tried extending their contracts. I've also decided to rely on loans to fill a few key positions, which will give me a better calibre of player without having to pay a thing for him in both transfer fees AND wages. For transfers I refuse to pay a lot to get a player, ao I'll look for free transfers or undervalued ones only. If it costs me some good players along the way, so be it, but I won't be hurt too badly financially, and with my good JPA scout, I can find a few diamonds in the rough.

My TACTICS:

Before every game, I scout the opposing team, making note of every players bravery and foot strength. I set tackling to hard for any player rated a 10 or less in bravery and show to weaker foot for anyone rated weak or worse on their weaker foot.

I'm using the default 442 with the ML and MR having farrows to the AM spots.

All sliders are set to default with the following exceptions:

mentality is set a click or 2 to defensive, creative freedom the same. DLine is set 3-4 clicks to the left and I use counter attack.

I will go to a more defensive mentality later in games as needed and move up the time wasting and move back the DLine, but that's about it. I'm not 100% sure about tactics yet, so I'll stick with what I understand.

I have a pretty set starting 11, with a rotation at a few positions. I tend to sub around the 70 minute mark (unless otherwise called for due to injury or whatnot). I'll stick in a ST with good pace and acceleration to keep the pressure up on the defensive, even if I'm up in the game to help keep them honest and from pushing up too much. This player is also just as good as MR, so I can sub him in there instead depending on how the starters are performing. I also tend to sub for my ML at the same point. My last sub will be dependant on the game situation and player conditioning. I might sub out one of my strikers if I'm up for a DMC or if I'm down I'll sub in a fresh MC or just for the player with the lowest conditioning regardless of position, especially if there isn't too big of a drop off to the sub.

WHERE I'M AT NOW:

Oct 27th. I lost the my first round league cup game on penalties after giving up the tying goal late. In the JPL, I won the first 2 rounds and have a favourable matchup with a league 2 team in rd 3.

In League 1 competition... I'm SECOND?!!??!!?!?

My record stands at 8 wins, 5 draws and ZERO losses. I'm 1 point out of first and 6 points up on the 3rd place team. While I realize it's very early in the season, I'm pretty much guaranteed that I won't be relegated so everything else is pure gravy. I'm +9 in goal differential, with 22 GF (tied for 3rd in the league) and 13GA (also tied for 3rd).

I have no idea how I'm doing so well, but I'm applying some of my parenting skills to the game... I'm not messing with quiet (or in this case, what seems to be working)! I know I'll hit a rough patch eventually, but hope to work through it with some minor tweaks as opposed to wholesale changes which I feel will just put me into a death spiral.

Anything else I should be doing or doing differently?

Thanks again for all your help!

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Shoot, can't find my paper with all my questions right now, but here's one that I thought of and remembered.

is there inflation in the game? In other words do players contract demands go up every year so does it behoove me to try to lock up my younger players who I've tabbed as future starters to longer contracts at a bit of a higher price in order to save money down the road?

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originally posted by sposfan:-

is there inflation in the game? In other words do players contract demands go up every year so does it behoove me to try to lock up my younger players who I've tabbed as future starters to longer contracts at a bit of a higher price in order to save money down the road?

There isn't specifically inflation coded into the game, for example prize money in the Premiership remains stagnant, but there is artificial inflation whereby certain clubs get richer and can pay higher transfer prices. I think that 'supply and demand' also does not exist as I am fairly convinced there is a fixed algorithm which affects wages and transfer fees.

With respect to contract demands the 'inflation' element depends on a number of things that spring to mind all of which are interlinked(this isn't an exhaustive list):-

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. How the player perceives his squad status: Higher perceived status = Higher wage demands

When you first go to offer a player a contract the initial squad status that appears is the one the player is asking for and is essentially reflects how he sees himself within your squad. The main factor that affects this is playing time. I'll use a generic example from previous save games I've had to illustrate.

I am a believer in picking your best first XI whenever possible and tend to rotate only when necessary or applicable rather than as a general policy. So I have 2 main strikers who will go in the 1st team if fit and available. My 3rd choice striker will generally be happy to sign a new contract as a squad rotation player, but if a scenario occurs whereby one of my main strikers gets a long term injury my 3rd choice finds himself acting as 1st choice. If I offer him a contract in this scenario he will generally ask for 'first team' status because he now perceives himself to be 1st choice (the player AI isn't too smart in this situation and doesn't recognise why the player is now 1st choice), and he will demand a wage that reflects this.

The way to counteract this effect is to plan ahead. So if you have a young player who is currently 'hot prospect' and you intend using him as a squad rotation player in the near future then offer him a contract before you introduce him to the first team. This won't work indefinitely though depending on their personality type they might get a 'PR' next to their name indicating their unhappiness at their current wage.

2. The player's reputation: Higher reputation = Higher wage demands

Player's reputation tends to increase gradually as your team's reputation does. It depends on their average ratings and in what competition those ratings were achieved. Winning individual awards such as 'Player of the Month' or selection in the season's best XI have an effect also.

International appearances have a major effect on player reputation. This is something you should be aware of if you use the strategy of scouring the cheaper leagues (Romania, Poland etc.) to find players of high quality at a decent price, particularly in lower divisions. A common scenario I have occur is as follows:-

(i) I buy a cheap player of high potential from a foreign league

(ii) As he becomes established in my first team he starts to get called up for international duty. This is particularly likely if you do not have the country's leagues active thus limiting the number of regens the game creates for said country.

(iii) His reputation increases as he gets more international caps.

(iv) At a certain point I get a news item about how the player feels his contract should match his status

Thus his desired wage has inflated as his reputation did.

3. How rich your club is: A bigger wage budget = Higher wage demands

Self explanatory I think, but the key thing is that in my experience it is wage budget rather than bank balance. On many occasions I've had the following type of scenario happen:-

(i) Player A demands 24000 p/w at indispensable status

(ii) My club only allows 20000 p/w so I shift some transfer funds to increase my wage budget

(iii) I return to offer a contract with my higher wage budget and Player A now demands 29000 p/w, which again is higher than what my board will allow

Very frustrating icon_mad.gif

I suppose you could call this inflation of sorts but it isn't like general economic inflation whereby players across the game start to demand more due to some hidden 'cost of living' value increasing.

4. Player Personality: More temperamental = Higher wage demands

Player personality is a group of variables that affects wage demands relative to the previous points 1 to 3. Higher ambition, lower loyalty, lower professionalism (hidden attributes that are used to generate the player personality description) will increase the wage demands relative to the previous 3 points. For example given two players with the same perceived squad status and reputation, a 'temperamental' player is more likely to ask for a higher wage and be less flexible in the negotiations than a 'professional' player.

A general indicator of player personality in contract negotiations is the terminology used by the player. More temperamental players will often use 'demands a contract'.

5. Player's affiliation to the club: Weaker link = Higher demands

This particularly is important to signing on fees. For example I have found that players who have been with you as a manager and the club for 4 or more years, with you or the club in their favoured section, are more likely to accept a much lower signing on fee than the one they initially ask for. As a rule of thumb I generally go to half and see what the response is.

Players with an affiliation for the club are also more likely to accept lower conditions than the ones they initially ask for.

This also reflects the wording in the contract negotiations with players who have an affinity for the club less likely to 'demand' a certain wage.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

That's all I can think of for now and are just generalisations of my experience in playing the game. You will probably encounter exceptions as you progress.

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Thanks for the explanation, that helps a lot! One further question I did have was about attributes. Are they, or can they be permanently affected by injuries, especially long term injuries, or is the only real effect of injuries to deny the availability of the player?

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Finished my first season and about to embark on the offseason.

I'm not quite sure how this happened, after I restarted after the lost save game, things really fell into place. I definitely hit the hard patch for a bit, but weathered the storm.

I started off like gangbusters and never looked back. I did learn from my previous trial games and had my squad pretty much set before the first game. I grabbed a parent club, and snagged a few key players on loan, mainly my GK, who was at least twice as good as the incumbent, and used the 3 month loans to fill my ML spot with 3 different players in turn during the season, all of whom were much better than anything I had on the roster or could hope to sign.

I set my tactics (442 attacking), with only 3 minor tweaks: a few clicks to defensive, a few clicks to the left for creativity and defensive line and a bit to the right for time wasting. I also turned on counter attacking. I didn't touch my tactics all year, except for some in game situational tweaks.

I let the assman handle the team talks for the most part, with the only real exception being that I would praise subs who rated 7 or higher, and change to "none" those subs that played less than 15-20 minutes.

I tended to make 3 subs all at the around the 70 minute mark and never dressed an extra GK on my bench, instead going with a versatile bench to cover my starting 11.

Anyways... here are my results:

League Cup: lost in 1st round on penalties.

FA cup: lost in FOURTH! rd to Man U 0-3

Johnstone Paint: made it to the finals?!?! where I lost 0-1

And in league play...

46gp, 25W, 14D, 7L 79GF 52GA 89 pts...FIRST in league 1! I have no clue how this happened. I finished 6 points up on 2nd place, was named manager of the year and had one of my young up and comers named to the players team and got promoted!! Once I clinched I played my younger players more to get them game experience.

I signed only 2 players, one a util on a free who turned into a rotation player/top sub and the other about halfway through, a younger player with upside for 14k to cover for an injury and for the future. I sold only 1 player and loaned out 1.

One thing I did do was resign my core players to extensions and it looks like it paid off in spades since I assume that being promoted would lead to them asking for larger raises.

After the season, Hartlepool offered me an extension with a hefty raise, which I immediately accepted.

One thing I did do, and I'm not sure this was the right thing, was that after the last transfer period closed, I still managed to sign 4-5 young cheap (4k and less) players, and although they will only join me after the season, they all have very high upside.

now, after much gloating, more questions!

OFFSEASON: Anything special I should do here? I'm allowed to increase my staff with my promotion, but I'm keeping my incumbents, unless someone markedly better is available for about the same cost.

I'll scour the transfer list for possibilities, but I have a feeling I'm going back down after this year, so I don't want to overextend myself. Based on the avg age of my team and it's upside, even if I do get relegated, I can see myself back the following year hopefully and will have a much stronger squad.

Can anyone suggest other things that I should be looking to do in the offseason? I've already printed out this entire thread and reread it several times over during my season and I can't tell you how helpful it is.

I still have no clue HOW I did this well, I know it's all beginner's luck, but whatever credit there is to take it all belongs to everyone who guided me along!

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Thanks for the explanation, that helps a lot! One further question I did have was about attributes. Are they, or can they be permanently affected by injuries, especially long term injuries, or is the only real effect of injuries to deny the availability of the player?

Yes but has to be really serious. Anything 6 months plus can have an effect but this will depend on the player's age. Older players are less likely to recover than younger ones.

And in league play...

46gp, 25W, 14D, 7L 79GF 52GA 89 pts...FIRST in league 1!

And the rookie of the year award goes to..............sposfan! icon_wink.gif Seriously that is quite an achievement. I doubt I'd get that squad into the playoffs never mind win the league.

One thing I did do, and I'm not sure this was the right thing, was that after the last transfer period closed, I still managed to sign 4-5 young cheap (4k and less) players, and although they will only join me after the season, they all have very high upside.

My rule of thumb with youngsters is speculate to accumulate. If my transfer budget and wage budget can handle it I'll sign as many youngsters as I can that my scout describes as 'potential to be a good X player' where X is typically 1 or 2 levels above where I currently play. Worst case scenario is you make a healthy profit, but beware the temperamental ones who can get too big for the boots too quickly and destroy team morale.

OFFSEASON: Anything special I should do here? I'm allowed to increase my staff with my promotion, but I'm keeping my incumbents, unless someone markedly better is available for about the same cost.

My general approach when I get promoted is to look in two places:-

1. Players at clubs in the league I have been promoted to who aren't first team regulars and might be available at a reasonable price (assuming they look capable of doing a job and fit into my set up).

2. Players at clubs in the league above the one I have been promoted to who aren't first team regulars and might be available at a reasonable price (assuming they look capable of doing a job and fit into my set up). In particular the youngsters at Premiership clubs with potential might be willing to join your team, but given you've just been promoted the % will be pretty low.

3. Check if my board has given me an upgrade on the countries I can scout and go looking in the bargain basement countries (Poland, Romania, Czech Republic,Scandinavian countries, Wales, Ireland and Scotland to a lesser extent).

I try to be as ruthless as possible and remove any attachment to players. Look for your weakest spot and try and find a player that you can afford to fill that position. But in my experience the further up you go the more important it becomes to have a good goalkeeper and a good striker. They can be the difference between relegation and survival.

The championship is one of the hardest divisions in England to climb out of as basically you have 3 teams that get relegated from the Premiership who have a much better squad and usually more money to spend. Typically 2 of these 3 teams will grab the automatic promotion spots which leaves everyone else going for the playoffs. Also there are a lot of evenly matched teams fighting for those spots that means teams dropping points regularly and a close race to the finishline.

From a tactical perspective it might not be necessary to change anything as how successful tactics are often depend on how the opposition perceives you. In League 1 you were expected to be relegated, teams approached you as such for much of the season yet your tactic brought you success. In the championship you probably will be expected to be relegated again so the same principles should apply. But the difference in player quality might be too much.

For example a Championship quality team is more likely to punish you and exploit weaknesses in your tactics than a League 1 quality team. You might find yourself at a point in the season where you will be faced with a major decision. :-

Is it my tactics or the gap in quality that is responsible for my poor league form?

Do I keep plugging on or try some radical changes?

Unfortunately there is no simple answer so I would say go with your gut.

Good Luck in the Championship icon_smile.gif

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Thank you...yet again! icon_smile.gif

A few more questions, while I have you, if you would be so kind.

Is there any way to ask my board to allow me to scout more countries? As of yet they are still limiting me to the UK.

A major question I have is this: does the AI learn my tactics over a season? If so, is this done on a team by team basis, or does the AI controlled teams "share" the knowledge amongst themselves? Does it behoove me to tweak my tactics from time to time,even if it's minor to try to hinder them from knowing exactly what my tactics are. Can the AI "see" my tactical settings even though I can't see theirs (ie, slider settings etc).

I wholeheartedly agree with your view on prospects. Quantity IS quality. If you have enough, some of them will likely pan out. Also, signing them to longer contracts will mean that once they do pan out, I can still afford them and then try to sell them off as they near the end of their initial contracts and want large raises or if I have a surplus.

My philosophy is still one of a minor league or "feeder" type club I guess. I', planning on relying on loans to fill 2 holes on my team each year (GK and one other), which allows me to put more of my resources into other positions, since I know only have to pay for 9 starters instead of 11. As an added bonus the players I get on loan are better than the ones I could afford to sign, so I really reap the benefits there. Unless I move up to the Premier League, I don't intend to change that philosophy, or should I?

One thing I did find as many have mentioned earlier in the thread is the value of a good utility player who can at least competently play several positions. By having 1 or 2 of these on my bench allows me more latitude to select the rest of my bench without being too worried about needing to cover a position.

I also find that by checking each opponent for their players' bravery and especially foot strength (which is on the positions screen), I've been able to scout 23 other teams each year twice and made some notes about players who play many positions for future years.

I also made a few training regimens. I didn't want to simply download someone else's, since I'd never learn that way. I made about 6 more, and have found a real difference how different type of players respond to different types of training. I try to keep them all just a hair under a heavy workload. Also, I found it extremely beneficial to give players with conditioning under 95% a day or so off (more if lower) so that they would be closer to 100% for gametime. Later in the season, I would give most, if not all of the squad a few days off after each match.

I still don't understand how I did so well, even with all your help. I can say that I watched almost every single game, although later in the season, it was at a faster speed, and got a much better feel for positions and which attributes worked well at each. I also watched real football games whenever possible, much to my wife's consternation! icon_smile.gif The good news is that with my satellite package there is almost always a game on at bedtime! icon_smile.gif

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