So upon entering my 6th season with Toulouse and still having alot of fun, I thought I'd share what I've learnt about the team incase anyone else is interested in starting as them.
Why manage Toulouse?
Simply because of the squad. Although they are predicted to finish 8th, you can quite easily be challenging for the 3 CL spots in the first season. The squad is packed full of talent, but more importantly youth. If you were to start at a team such as PSG and wanted to buy the best young french talent, alot of them would come from this side.
I've always managed in Ligue 1 on every FM, and this year it's more fun than ever. There is alot more competition, with teams such as Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Montpellier, and surprisingly AS Saint-Etienne all capable of challenging for the top spots - although it's generally PSG who will take the title over these. In the past when I've managed at teams such as Lyon, I find a few years into the game it just becomes a question of how many points I will win by. Whereas PSG's money means they'll be a constant threat - in my 5th season I lost the title to them after winning it for the prior 2 seasons.
I feel apart from the BPL, this is probably the most evenly balanced and competitive league (although perhaps Serie A is fairly open too - on the game that is).
So, onto the guide! (With a template shamelessly ripped from Raikan.)
Nickname: Le TFC
Montpellier, Bordeaux.. and a host of tiny local teams you can see in a screenshot later.
As you would expect for a fairly recently founded team, you pretty much have a blank canvas to build a dynasty on. They have a couple of honours before 1970, so I'm not quite sure what's going on here.
You will want to load the French league right down to the bottom league, as your reserve team plays in either the lowest or second lowest tier. I'd also recommend loading the Belgium league (as belgians speak french, and you get the odd great regen from there), as well as players from Africa. You may also want to load (just for the beginning) the Norwegian league, as there are a couple of dirt cheap gems at Tromso; namely Kara and Yttegard Jensen.
If your PC can handle it, make sure the database size is set to Large.
Start of season expectations:
As you can see, there is no point choosing higher than Top Half Finish, leaving you to overachieve in your first season.
Club facilities and overview:
The facilities are pretty average here, and with little money in the bank, you won't be upgrading them for a couple of seasons. The stadium expansion is only around 5000 more seats, so don't get too excited. The one problem I've found is the extremely low amount of season ticket holders in regards to the stadium size. You will have to win trophies/the league regularly to eventually keep having sell outs.
Note that because of the low fan base and revenue streams (even after winning honours), you can't go crazy with transfer spending. Even after 5 seasons it's only through selling players and buying bargains that I make a profit each season. So if you like the added challenge of managing your finances, this is another reason to go with Toulouse.
Squad and tactics:
Look at all those lovely ages. Only one player in your strongest 11 is over the age of 23. It won't be easy in the beginning as some of these aren't particularly good enough yet, but with no money you might as well develop them faster. Key players to keep hold of are Capoue, Sissoko, Abdennour, Tabanou, M'Bengue and Aurier (Ahamada doesn't become as great as his potential suggests, but he's still more than good enough). These will form the core of your team for a good 8 years or so. Etienne Capoue has a release clause of 13m, so try and tie him down to a new contract asap if your wage budget allows.
The depth is pretty bad however, and you lack any good backup strikers. Personally when I start a game I like to remove all current loans/injures on the editor. This way my first season isn't hindered by RL decisions (cheating to some, convenience to me). If you choose to do the same, you will be able to sell the useless Umut Bulut for 7m, and buy Kara for 3.5m (to replace the ageing Zebina in the first team); as well as having another striking option in Amadou Soukouna.
If not, then it will be hard to sign even free players, due to no excess wage budget. In my experience you are able to sign this guy right away:
Just remember to adjust the player roles when putting him on - you wouldn't want Narry or Sirieix as a DLP.
You can try selling or loaning out Olivier Blondel (and any reserves/U18s that will go - the only prospect you should keep is Kevin Rodrigues). Doing so may leave you with enough to get James Mcfadden as a backup striker/wide midfielder - if he hasn't been snapped up already. In my trial season on the beta he scored goals for fun - on my first season on the full release he scored 0. So a bit hit and miss, but at worst you can sell him in the second season to make a good few million profit.
Another option would be to provide cover at LB.
As for a tactic, you can either download one with a similar formation, or use mine that I've attached at the bottom (they should work). However you will need to change the STL to Deep Lying ST (for Ben Yedder), and the MCL to Deep Lying Playmaker - as these player roles were from a future season.
With your lack of money and fairly average reputation, I found it best to wait until the next season before revamping your staff list. The one change to make is offer mutual termination to your Assman, and replace him with this guy:
Leaving you with:
This is my first guide, so let me know if I've missed anything out. And as I used the editor to enable me to sell Umut Bulut, the transfer suggestions may be a bit thin. So again let me know if you were able to sign anyone else and I'll add them to the OP.
A note on future transfers:
In January start searching for players whose contracts expire in 6 months. In my first January,
I managed to pick up
And in my second January I signed
So look out for these!
Good luck and thanks for reading. Took me bloody ages. And ignore the additional screenshot below; can't seem to get rid of it.