Lower League Management FAQ by lighty691

Version 1.20, Last Updated 2010-01-11

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Football Manager 2009 - English Non League Guide

by Andrew Light

Copyright 2009, Andrew Light

Version 1.20

1.1 - Introduction

Welcome to my guide to lower league management of the English leagues for Football Manager 2009 (also known as Worldwide Soccer Manager). This guide assumes that you have played the game at some level already and have a basic knowledge of the game and its functions. This guide is solely for assistance in taking a lower league team to the top. I hope this guide is useful, if you have any questions or find any errors here, please email me at the address below and I will try to reply to these asap. Many thanks and enjoy!

1.2 - Legal Notes

This may not be produced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any website or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other website or as part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.

All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their respective trademark and copyright owners.

1.3 - Controls

The controls in the game are pretty simple. All options that you can click on to get information or progress through the game are accessed by scrolling the mouse over the option and clicking the left button.

1.4 - Version History

Version 1.00

All sections now complete.

Version 1.10

Added Wonderkids section.

Version 1.20

Visual overhaul to include new formatting options.

Start Date: 13/06/2009

Finish Date: 14/06/2009

Latest Update: 11/01/2010

2.1 - Picking a team

Your choice in team will probably be based on one of two things. You will be picking the team that you support or follow in real life, or you will be picking a team that you can best achieve success for. If you are wanting to go all the way to the top with your team you would be best selecting a team that has the potential to be a world class team. In my opinion some of the teams on offer have little potential to go all the way due to limitations out of your control.

My advice would be to pick a team that has a good stadium. By this I mean that you need a stadium that has a large capacity. You do not necessarily need to be filling this stadium every week, simply just to have the potential to have a large capacity. In fact when you play the Blue Square North/South leagues you will have very small capacities. A good way to check that the team has potential in their stadium is to look at the data editor. You can find this application saved to your computer but it can be in different places depending on the type of computer you have. By looking at the data editor you can see what stadium a club plays at and the capacity of that stadium. Also quite importantly, you can find out what the potential for expansion to this stadium is. This is a very important factor as not all clubs will immediately be able to build a huge stadium.

The above criteria is probably the most important when deciding which club to take over at, so unless you are dead set on playing with your favourite team bear this in mind.

2.2 - Team preparations

There are several things that it is best to do in the first few weeks of your management of the club. These will be explained below.

Players - Your first task is to review your team. You need to look at the players positions and their ability. I would advise to take some time to pick your ideal first 11 from the squad. You may find that depending on the team you picked you may be short of players in particular positions. Don't worry too much about this because at the moment you are only trying to analyse your current squad. Once you have your first 11 in mind, try and pick out some subs that will cover as many outfield positions as possible. This is now your current match squad. You now need to look at the players you have left over and decide who you want to keep. You will want to consider keeping some of the young talent at the club if they look like they have potential. Other players who are obviously not up to the level of your current squad either need to be sold or released. Try to get some cash for these players wherever possible but bear in mind if they are not particularly good there are not going to be many teams interested so you may need to set an asking price of £0 or let them go on a free if their contracts are up.

Board Room - Once you have got your team and backroom staff sorted you may want to consider having discussions with the boardroom. The main request that you need to make is for a parent club. This is going to be vital in you getting the kind of players in to the club that can secure promotion for you. The board should ask you if you would like to request a link with a particular club and it is advisable to pick a team that is going to have players available for loan. There is no point picking a team that is not going to have many players available for loan or players that are not going to make a particular impact on your team. You may also want to request that the club improves the training facilities and the youth facilities. This will be dependant of the finances of the club and may be refused first time round.

2.3 - Backroom preparations

Coaches - Due to limitations with your club it is unlikely that the club will allow you to have more than one coach or possibly two if you are lucky. At this point it is advisable to try and get a descent all round coach who is average in most areas. It is probably not wise to pick a world class coach at this stage for a few reasons. Firstly it is unlikely that you will be able to attract a coach of that calibre to the club in the first place but if you do, he is likely to cripple the club with debt due to the wages. Secondly due to the fact that he is going to be training all the players, having world class stats in only one or two categories is not going to be beneficial anyway due to the large workload he will have. Where possible (and if the stats are good enough) have your assistant manager take control of some of the training. If you are going to devise your own training schedules, make sure these are set up as early as possible. If not make sure your assistant manager and your coach/coaches have the responsibilities split as best as possible to ease the workload.

Section III - Season 1

This section of the guide explains what things to do in your first season to ensure the long term success of the club. The time frame for most of these actions are reasonably flexible as each club is different but it is advised to do as much of this in the first season as possible.

3.1 - Season Expectations

You will firstly need to check what your pre-season expectations are. Depending on the club you pick you could have very different expectations. For example a club that had just been relegated to the league the previous season may be expected to make promotion again or at least make the playoffs, whereas a team that is not particularly strong may only have expectations to avoid relegation. To be honest, it is likely that you will easily make your expectations. Another thing you need to consider are your own personal expectations. Do you want to gain promotion in the first season and risk financial trouble if you don't make it, or wait a season and prepare your club to stand a better chance of staying up when you do get promoted, but potentially miss out on additional earnings and better players? This will be one of your first big decisions and will depend of the style you want to play, and how long you intend to be at the club. Whatever decision you make, make it as soon as possible and stick to it. Don't go changing your plans mid season because the likelihood is that you will not be properly prepared for it one way or another.

As soon as you have a parent club set up you need to start looking at what players you need for your team. Firstly you need to have a look at what players you can pick up for nothing. The type of players you need to look for are:

- free agents (players who have no club at all) - out of contract players (players who have a club but are currently on a rolling contract) - players who are transfer listed (but have a value or asking price of £0) - players who are loan listed (not from your parent club) - players in your parent clubs team (particularly reserves and under 18's)

Firstly the main thing to do is try and get a really good striker on loan from your parent club. The reason that you want to do this through your parent club is that a really good striker in the lower leagues can cause all sorts of damage and will win you the most amount of points. Also strikers are notoriously the most expensive and sought after players. With your limited funds and wage budget you are unlikely to be able to afford the type of player you need. Plus it is likely that you will be able to get this player on a season long loan that doesn't cost you a penny. Try and nail this type of player down as soon as possible because if you don't you are going to need to fall back on the other options which are not going to be as attractive.

Once you have taken a player from your parent club, you now need to make sure that you have filled any gaps in your team. Make sure you have players playing in their natural positions and have cover in case they are injured. To do this, search the other options as above but don't be held to ransom on wages. There are quite a lot of players out there available if you take the time to search. Once you have completed these tasks you are ready to start progressing through your first season.

3.2 - Getting the right results

There are several things that you need to do during the season to ensure that you are in the right position at the end of the season, both on and off the pitch.

One of the key factors on the pitch is to make sure your players are happy. This doesn't mean giving them huge contracts. You need to make sure they are all getting sufficient games for them to stay happy. This is where you are going to need some man management skills. The best players will not take kindly to sitting on the bench every week or missing out on the squad altogether. This is why it is a good idea as previously mentioned to not have a squad that is too big, because at the end of the day you can only have 11 players in your team so someone is going to be disappointed. Have too many of these players and it upsets the harmony of the team and also will not reflect well on you when your superiors are considering your position at the end of your contract. There can be many reasons why a player is unhappy so check on their profiles regularly and do what you can to keep them happy. Remember, don't be held to ransom on wages as it is essential that you keep these under control for the long term stability of the club.

This brings me on to my next point. Wherever possible you need to try and maximise your income and minimise your expenses. The latter is the main area where you can make an impact because you don't have much say in your income, unless you manage to go on a successful cup run. You can limit your expenditure by making sure you have the wage budget under control (both players and staff) making sure you have picked a team that owns its own stadium (to get sponsorship money) and by making sure you don't blow your cash on unnecessary signings. Without a regular income each month you are going to find it hard to fund the transfer budget you need when moving up leagues, but more importantly, without the cash coming in every month to directors of the club will not be able to expand the stadium or improve the facilities at the club. Without a large fan base and a full stadium, you are simply not going to have enough cash to survive at the top.

If you have made all your preparations pre season and you keep your teams morale up then you should have enough to be able to either win the league or at least hit the playoffs. Just keep your tactics simple and play to your strengths. Don't forget that this league is not the greatest in the world by a long way so its not going to need a tactical genius in charge, just someone who can get the best out of his players and make sure they stay motivated and hungry.

3.3 - End of season

The end of the season is again going to be another chance for you to strengthen your clubs position financially. You will have the option to release those pesky squad players who are on big contracts but not getting games (providing their contracts have expired). Don't waste the money compensating them to leave unless they are causing serious unrest in your team as there is no financial benefit for this and should you get a few serious injuries, you may need them to fall back on. You can also release young players who you feel don't have a future at the club, which will not only reduce your wage bill but also allow new talent to come through at the club.

Unfortunately any loan deals that have not already expired will also expire now meaning you lose your best players. If you really think they are worth it you can attempt to sign them for good but it is unlikely they will be interested in a permanent move and the wages they demand will likely be well out of your budget anyway. The best thing to do is let them go and either try to re-loan them again next season (this is easier if it is your parent club), or try replace them with another player via loan again next year.

Depending on your finishing place at the end of the season you may have different aspirations towards the new year...

Section IV - The future and beyond

You should by now have finished your first season and with a bit of luck you will have met the targets that were set by the board, and yourself. What you do from here ultimately depends on you but there are a few pointers that you may want to take note of in order to hit your ultimate goals...

4.1 - Long term goals

Basically you need to continue with the same method that you have done for your first few seasons. You need to keep wages down and performances up for a few seasons. Eventually you will reach a stage where your team is considered a good enough team. It is at this point that the board of directors will re-consider whether you actually need a parent club anymore. If they decide against it then you are going to have to rely on your own squad and not players from a parent club. You will still obviously be able to loan players from any other club but you may find that this becomes increasingly more difficult as the calibre of players you will now need are going to be sought after by plenty of other clubs too and their owners may be less likely to part with them if they form a vital part of their own squad. Now would be a good time to start building a team with some foundations that will serve you for a decent length of time. This is going to mean searching for cheap players that are a good standard and have long term futures at the club. Over time you need to build up a squad that is good enough to help you progress but ideally still well within your budget so that you can remain in profit every month. One important thing that you are going to need before you can hit the top is something that unfortunately is mostly out of your control. You are going to need to convince your board that you need a few things. Firstly you need to get enough coaches in so that you can get a good star rating for each of your coaching areas. This shouldn't be too much of a problem as they will likely allow this as you progress through the leagues. However what can be difficult is getting the board to expand the stadium and improve the facilities at the club. By now you are probably just about breaking even due to the amount of wages that you are having to pay and the minimal amount of cash you are getting from your gate receipts and sponsorship. Expanding the stadium is the next big step to getting the finances needed to build a Premier league standard club. This is where your selection of club was so important, way back when you started your game as some clubs will not have the finances to build extensions, or more worrying will not have the authorisation to due to local council restrictions. This is not permanent but can go on for many, many years, as I found out to my peril. Because you cannot increase your profits, you never really manage to save enough cash to fund this build and you end up going round in circles never really getting anywhere. However if you have prepared well, you should be able to get past this tricky stage.

4.2 - Reaching the top

In order to reach the very top and be a serious rival to the top teams you are now going to need to make the big step up through the Championship to the Premier league. Once you are playing in the top league you need to gradually improve over stages. Firstly make sure that you have a team that can beat relegation then aim to build a team that gradually finishes higher each year. Once you have got to this stage you are now ready to take on the top teams and play European football. It is likely that now you will have a good squad and excellent finances that will allow you to start bidding for the big players. The rest is now really up to you as you simply just need to buy the players that you think can win you trophies and sit back and take the glory!

Section V - Helpful hints and tips

Here are a few general tips to making sure you get what you want from your career:

- Don't get held to ransom over wages. There are plenty of good players out there.

- Get your club set up as early as possible. I.e. get parent/feeder clubs set up, get loan deals in place, get training schedules done.

- Don't feel sentimental to players/coaches. The club's success depends on you having the right people under you and at the right price.

- Make sure your club has potential. If you want to take certain clubs to the top you are going to find it next to impossible with certain restrictions.

- Don't rush to get promoted quickly if you are just going to get relegated straight away. Some players have clauses in their contracts that allow them to leave if you are relegated. Also you might find yourself down the job centre...

Section VI - The Wonderkids

One of the most sought after data on the game is a list of players described as "wonderkids". A wonderkid is a young player that has huge potential and with the right type of coaching and mentoring, can become a world class player. The following is a list of players that at the start of the game have the wonderkid description. In your early days it is adviseable to try and sign these players, although depending on the status of your club this may prove difficult. This is based on a game with a large database.

England

Arsenal

Theo Walcott

Age: 19

AM RL, F C

English

Value £5M

Wage 20K

Contract expires 30/06/09

Man United

Anderson

Age: 20

AM C

Brazilian

Value £8.5M

Wage 20K

Contract Expires 30/06/12

Spain

Athletico

Sergio Aguero

Age:20

AM/F C

Argentinian

Value £12.5M

Wage 55K

Contract Expires 30/06/12

Barcelona

Bojan

Age: 17

F C

Spanish

Value £6.5M

Wage 28.5K

Contract Expires: 30/06/13

R. Madrid

Marcelo

Age: 20

D/WB/M L

Brazilian

Value £5M

Wage 17.5K

Contract Expires 30/06/12

Gonzalo Higuain

Age: 20

AM/F C

Argentinian

Value £8.25M

Wage 35K

Contract Expires 30/06/13

Valencia

Juan Manuel Mata

Age: 20

AM LC, F C

Spanish

Value £6.75M

Wage 14.25K

Contract Expires 30/06/11

Italy

AC Milan

Pato

Age: 18

F C

Brazilian

Value £9.5M

Wage 11.75K

Contract Expires 30/06/12

France

Lyon

Karim Benzema

Age: 20

ST

French

Value £6.5M

Wage 68K

Contract Expires 30/06/13

Section VII - Credits and thanks

- Thanks to gamefaqs.com for giving me the opportunity to publish this guide.

- Thanks to the makers of the game. You did such a wonderful job on this version.

- Thanks to the readers of this guide. Any comments/corrections please email me at the following web address and I will try to reply wherever I can: lighty691faqs[at]yahoo[dot]com

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