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Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues
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  1. Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues

    I have decided to create a guide to help people venture in the the murky depths of lower league management. As many people would agree, it is more satisfying to start with a lower team and make them great. Without knowing where to start though, it can be very hard. I will be putting together a guide which will (hopefully) ive you a foothold on lower league management. In this guide, I will be using my current Littlehampton save as an example. Littlehampton are a small team who start in the Sussex County Division 2, a level 10 league. To be able to play with teams this low, you will need to download this database here.

    1. Starting off

     


    This database is obviously a very large one, and will require a good processor to run the game with any real speed. I would recommend only loading the English leagues, and maybe a small or medium database. If you have a high spec computer, it is worth adding more leagues, I find South American leagues very good.

    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-football-manager-2012-new-game_-choose-nations-.png

    This is the set up I went for. I went for a large database. If any of the players I recommend later in the guide are not on your game, this is probably why, sorry. Also notice that I have left Add Key Staff, and Add Players to Playable Teams UN-ticked. This means I can build my club entirely from scratch. I have also un-ticked Enable Attributes masking, but for more realistic game play, feel free to tick it. Next comes the naming of your manager. Again, I cant help with this, use your imagination Also set your past experience to Automatic, or Sunday League Football, just to make it feel more realistic.



    2. Choosing Your Club

     


    Now comes the hardest choice. Which team do you want to (hopefully) turn into the greatest club ever? This is a choice I can't really help you with. If you starting in the bottom leagues, I am pretty sure all the transfer and wage budgets will be the same. I would recommend either starting with your local team, or to help in the future, the club with the biggest stadium.

    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-game_-_untitled-game_-add-new-manager-2.png

    As you can see, I started with Littlehampton (not my local club, unfortunately, Worthing United must have got relegated last season lol) They have a stadium capacity of 4000 (260 seated) and a media prediction of 6th, not that it means much in the first season. Now choose your season expectations, Winning should be easy with the right players, but if you want to stay safe, choose the lowest one you can.



    3. Choosing Your Staff

     


    If you set it up properly, you should have no staff, and no players. The hardest part will be finding an assistant manager. As I was only able to sign a regen, I will not be able to recommend an assistant manager. The easiest way to find one that will sign though is to have the staff filter set to "Staff Role - Assistant Manager" and "Reputation - Unproven". This should give you a list of staff that would be willing to join your club. I do seem to find though, they always want £10 p/w more than you can offer, which is really annoying. At this stage, any assistant will do, any stats they have will be a bonus.

    Once you have signed an assistant manager, it will become much easier to find the rest of your staff and players. You club should let you sign 2 coaches, 1 physio and 2 scouts. At this stage, I would recommend signing coaches with good fitness training, as fitness will be key early on in your save. Having coaches with 10+ in discipline, motivation and determination will be very useful too.

    For a Physio, you obviously want one with a high physiotherapy rating, and for scouts, high judging ability and judging potential ability. High motivation is also a bonus for all your staff members. Now comes the good bit, creating your team.

    Something I usually forget about is placing adverts for staff. This can be a real time saver, and you also usually get some quite good members of staff applying.



    4. Signing a team

     


    Ok, this is where the fun part begins. Its time to find your players. Remember, when negotiating with players, always get them as low as possible. Offer defenders big goal bonuses for example, this should help bring their wage demand down, whist there is little risk of them scoring lots of goals (unless you use a corner bug) I will be looking at finances later on in this guide.

    Before you start signing players, you should have a rough example of what basic formation you want to play. There is no point in signing players your never going to use.

    As you are likely to have a transfer budget of nothing in your first season, you are going to be wanting to look at free transfers. I would recommend keeping the the free transfer policy for the first 3-4 seasons, even if you get a transfer budget. The players you have to pay for are generally no better than the free transfers, so whats the point in wasting money.

    Goalkeeper

    Ok, first thing you are going to need is someone solid between this sticks. Having a good goalkeeper is key to a successful campaign. As I will come onto in a later section, you will want a very traditional keeper, nothing fancy, just a good shot stopper. Good Aerial ability and reflexes are a good thing to have. You will probably find that regens are probably your best bet for free transfers, have a look around and see who you can find.

    Defenders

    Having a good defence will obviously help you goalkeeper out immensely. The key at this level is good Tackling, Marking, Strength and Pace. There are some good defenders out there for this level, so search through the player list and look for them. Some of the players I found good were:

     

    Note: All Screenshots below were taken in the second season, Stats may be different.

    Tony Brookes
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-tony-brookes-overview_-attributes-.png

    Anthony Ashman
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-anthony-ashman-overview_-attributes-.png

    Ashley Thompson
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-ashley-thompson-overview_-attributes-.png


    Midfielders

    These are the guys that are going to be setting up your goals, and helping your defenders out, so having high Stamina and natural fitness is a bonus here. Passing and tackling are probably the key thing you are looking for here. Long shots will also be another bonus here, as opposition goalkeepers at this level seem to be susceptible to them. Here are some players I found that played well for me:

     

    Note: All Screenshots below were taken in the second season, Stats may be different.

    Tony Dinning (Must Buy!)
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-tony-dinning-overview_-player-attributes-.png

    Mark McLeod
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-mark-mcleod-overview_-attributes-.png

    Darren Cartwright
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-darren-cartwright-overview_-attributes-.png

    Jimmy Rodgers
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-jimmy-rogers-overview_-attributes-.png


    Strikers

    These are obviously the guys that will be getting you most of your goals. Finishing and pace are a huge bonus here. As I mentioned in the Midfielders section, long shots is a very big bonus as goalkeepers seem to dislike them in my experience. Here are some strikers I signed:

     

    Note: All Screenshots below were taken in the second season, Stats may be different.

    Edwin Ellis (Must Buy. 32 goal in 34 games!)
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-edwin-ellis-overview_-attributes-.png

    David Eaton
    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-david-eaton-overview_-attributes-.png


    The best piece of advice I can give you though, is always, always, always be on the look out for regen players. There will always be a few good ones around that will be willing to join your club. My current best 3 players at the club are regens, two aged 17 and one aged 16. As you can see from the screenshots below, they are all in amazing goal scoring form, and they are really helping me, especially in cup competitions; Which as I will come onto later, is really useful for the clubs finances.

    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-jon-mustoe-overview_-attributes-.png Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-peter-walton-overview_-attributes-.png Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-graham-rowan-overview_-attributes-.png

    Your ideal squad size would probably be around 25-30 players, including youth players. Hopefully you will still be under your wage budget. Most clubs should get around 1k for wage budget. If you average £20 p/w, that will be around £600 p/w. Keeping it as low as possible now will always help in the future.



    5. Tactics

     


    Before I start this section, I would like to say I am in no way a tactics expert. I usually use downloaded tactics, but for this save, I decided to do them all myself. Okay then, as all your players are not of a very good standard, it would be best to stick to the principle of K.I.S.S, Keep It Simple Stupid. Sticking with a basic 4-4-2 is probably your best bet to start with.

    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-littlehampton-town-tactics_-team-instructions-.png

    This is the tactic I went for in my first season. It worked very well for me, and won me the league scoring 82 goals and conceded 22 in the process. I think the most important thing is to not mess around with passing. Get the ball up to your strikers, and let them bang it home. It may not be the most exciting style of play, but we want to be winning, and at this level, I would say it is the best way to.

    I would recommend not to play offsides. Playing offsides requires lots of communication and good leadership, which you are unlikely to have at this stage. You will find if you play it, it will often get broken, and you will end up with lots of one on one situations against your goalkeeper.

    Your philosophy I would recommend starting with it on rigid for the first few months, while your team is still gelling. After time, and if you feel comfortable with if, change it to fluid.


    6. Finances

     


    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-littlehampton-boardroom_-finances-2.png

    Right, This is where things start to get a little bit hard. You not only need to be a Football Manager, but also a business man. Every decision you make, you must think, how will this affect my clubs future finances. What is the point of having an excellent first first seasons, only to end up becoming bankrupt and end up in administration.

    Expenditure

    Your main source of outgoings will obviously be your players wages (unless you have any outstanding loans). I briefly touched on this earlier in the players section, but you want to keep these as low as possible. Always negotiate a contract lower. Offer bonuses, especially to rotational player, and ones that are unlikely to score or make team of the year. Not only does it help with finances, but this will also help your board confidence. I am in my second season now, and I am spending £900 p/w on wages, and I have a total budget of £1.5k p/w. Staying around 20% below your overall wage budget is a good place to be.

    When you are offering contracts, try offer them for as long as possible, especially for your younger better players. Every time you need to offer them a new contract, they will always want more money, and it can be hard to negotiate them down. Also, beware of Promotion and yearly increases, as this can be a killer at the end of a season.Other than this, you will have no real control on your expenditure. You wont see much go out on other things though. Maybe a few hundred a month on maintenance and taxes etc.

    Income

    You will need a good source of income to help keep your club financially stable, and the best way to do that is simply by winning. Long cup runs are vital to help bring in prize money. I now have £1.5 million sitting in my bank, and nearly all of that has come from prize money. Make sure you play your strongest team for these cup games. As you probably wont get very large attendances to start with, (I have averaged around 300 so far) you will not make much money from gate receipts. As you go up the pyramid, you should get larger attendances.


    7. Parent Clubs

     


    Parent clubs can be very helpful for the finances at your club. There are different types of parent clubs you can have, but they will all pay your club a yearly fee. Im not sure if there are any club links set up for the lower leagues, so you will have to ask your board to create one. There are two types of parent club you can ask for, one to send players on loan to the club, and one to help gain extra income.

    I would recommend to ask for a club to help out with loans, as this can really save you money on wages. The other you can ask for will involve both clubs arranging a friendly every season, and your club will keep all the gate receipts. I found in the first season I was unable to get a parent club. This may, or may not happen to you. If it does though, keep asking. Eventually they will find the right club to be affiliated with.




    8. Training


     


    Again, I am not an expert with training, so I wont be able to provide you with an uber amazing training schedule. I can give you some advice though. I would keep training fairly light if possible. This is because you will probably be playing 2-3 games a week if you do well in the cup competitions. You dont want to be tiring your players out by over training them and risk injuring them. Going on long cup runs can be tough of the players, but it is worth it in the end.

    Most of you player will probably have a fairly low PA also, which means they will hardly improve. Ones who you believe have some improvement in them, you should put on a slightly more intensive schedule. Giving your players game time is a massive bonus at this level, and I find this improves their stats a lot.

    I would create 4 general schedules, one for goalkeepers, one for defenders, one for midfielders and one for strikers. I would them create a few individual schedules for your key players and hot prospects. This way you can get them to focus on the stats you want them to improve.

    Remember to review your schedules every season, and change or tweak them depending on your players, tactics and league.



    9. Fixtures/Competitions

     


    Creating A Club Dynasty - A Guide To Starting In The Lower Leagues-littlehampton-town-fixtures_-fixtures-.png

    Assuming you have started in the lowest league, it would take you 10 seasons of successive promotions to reach the Premiership. This in my opinion is fairly unrealistic, and maybe 15-20 season is a more realistic aim, depending on your FMing ability. There are also many cup competitions that you will be entered into while you are in the lower leagues. I was entered into 4 cups, this may be different for you, depending on what club you are.

    I would advice that you check all the rules and prize money from the competitions you have been entered in. Some of them have large winning bonuses, and it would be best to play your strongest team in these competitions. You are also going to need to be good at rotating your squad, as some weeks you may have up to 3 games. Always check how many game you have, as you might want to save you better players for another game or competition.

    In the first season, you should realistically win your league and probably one cup competition. I managed to win the league with games to spare. I want able to win a cup, but I did come close. Poor squad rotation let me down.



    10. End of Season 1


     


    So, now you have reached the end of the first season, and if all has gone accordingly to plan, you should be sitting at the top of the league with a nice C on the left hand side by your team. Now you can start planning for life in the next league. You will hopefully have around £300k-£800k sitting in your bank. If you have any more, then it is an excellent financial position to be in.

    Now would be the time to think about renewing any contracts, or releasing any player you feel are not worth keeping in your team.

    Also, I would try requesting for a parent team again, if your previous request was rejected. I have just finished my second season, and my board has still been unable to find a suitable link.







    To be expanded:

    11. Start of Season 2 (friendlies, finances, expectations, etc)
    12. Reviewing your squad
    13. New Signings


    Last edited by iamauser; 26/01/2012 at 05:43 PM.
    Kris, Karlloz, inky#22 and 16 others like this.

  2. If you would like to post any screenshot of players who have player well for you in lower league, feel free to post them to help the rest of us out. If anyone feels I have missed anything, please dont hesitate to say

  3. Brian's Avatar BrianPremium Member
    Shelbourne, Birmingham and Ireland Shelbourne Researcher
    #3
    Regarding coaches, regens are the best bet and look for coaches with 10+ in 2 out of 3 of Level of discipline, motivation and Determination.

    Otherwise a very good guide that is very helpful
    iamauser likes this.

  4. I agree with most of this. However the one thing that I do differently is that I actually offer everyone a contract for only 1-3 years. It is pretty easy to get promotion when you first start out, but after a promotion or two then your players that you bought at the start are very poor against the league as a whole. Which is why after two years most of the players I have who were starters are now bench players. After the second of third year their contact is up and that free's up wage space so I can sign better people.

    Also one of the first things you also want to do when you start the game is trying to get a parent club to give you some income but hopefully some loan players to help you out which is another way to bolster your team. Then again if you are starting just out as a lower league team for the first time maybe you should extend their contracts, cause most people who played know what it takes to get promotions early which is why I sign people to just short years.

  5. I completely forgot about parent clubs, thanks for reminding me. I have added a section on it

  6. *thumbs up*

    A good, solid read. I love it when people write in-depth guides about football management instead of just posting killer tactics. I hope this gets stickied, there's little starter guides for LLM around - personally I have yet to try my hands at a club lower level than third tier. Might as well give it a go soon.
    iamauser likes this.

  7. Great guide, I love to manage in the lower leagues but more often than not I mess it up somewhere along the line.
    I'm going to start one now, methinks, using the guidelines you've set out
    iamauser likes this.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by Draigh View Post
    *thumbs up*

    A good, solid read. I love it when people write in-depth guides about football management instead of just posting killer tactics. I hope this gets stickied, there's little starter guides for LLM around - personally I have yet to try my hands at a club lower level than third tier. Might as well give it a go soon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Botty View Post
    Great guide, I love to manage in the lower leagues but more often than not I mess it up somewhere along the line.
    I'm going to start one now, methinks, using the guidelines you've set out
    Thanks for the positive feedback. Feel free to post any successes you have, or ask any questions if you like

  9. Also with getting players the first couple of years (also depending on what tier or lower league you are in) probably better to save your money on players from fee's, and its better to just get all your players from free transfers. I usually go 4-5 years without signing someone with a transfer fee. That way it keeps your finances out of the red, and when you do look to start buying players you will have some money to do so.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by choices View Post
    Also with getting players the first couple of years (also depending on what tier or lower league you are in) probably better to save your money on players from fee's, and its better to just get all your players from free transfers. I usually go 4-5 years without signing someone with a transfer fee. That way it keeps your finances out of the red, and when you do look to start buying players you will have some money to do so.
    Good piece of advice. I had added it to the players section.

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