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Every time I go to start a long term save, I'm very sure to set myself up in a certain way to ensure that I'm in it for the long haul. I need to 'feel' the save and allow myself to be immersed and feel like it's 'my world!' The no.1 reason why most of us never get far into a save is because we get bored. We start all full of great intentions but we fall flat at the first hurdle and end up giving up before January.

In this guide, I'll be addressing how I start me game, choose a Manager and how I assess a club, the squad and my ambitions; both short and long term.



Stating a new game
can be one of the most stressful parts of playing Football Manager. It can set the tone for your next few weeks; or months if the save really kicks into gear. Getting it right at this point can save you a lot of heartache early on as you can allow for the prime 'youth-regen 'to be churning out players ready to be snapped up when they come of age.

Choosing my Nations: I have two default set ups: English-startup and Spanish-startup. I mainly play in those two nations so that's all I really have in mind but I may design more if I manage elsewhere.

English Startup
 
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I choose these European Nations to gain access to the top leagues for loan deals. Mexico because they have an insanely competitive league with top quality football and the USA because they're English speaking with a decent chance of producing good regens.


Spanish Startup
 
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Slightly different but I focus more on the Spanish speaking Lain-American nations since I like to focus on Spanish speaking players with a similar cultural identity when managing in Spain.



Next, I set the Database.
 
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I've chosen this set up to give me access to the top clubs in the nations I haven't selected,
to maximise my regen intake without compromising on performance. I end up with a database
of 96,000 players. (Recommended maximum is 100,000 on my machine)



Many people tell you to set the start date in January or February to give yourself a few month of pre-season to get a tactic correct. I think this not a good idea since you've still got wages costs coming out of your club despite no money coming in until July when you take in season tickets. This could potentially cost you millions of pounds and this will be felt in future budgets.

I'm quite content with starting in June and giving the team 2 months of a pre-seaosn.



Choosing you Manager: I feel this is hugely underestimated and people just enter generic values to get onto the club screen but thinking out your managerial persona can be quite helpful and can really help you become invested in the save. Before my 2014 Liverpool Story (Liverpool F.C. The 5 year Project)I invented the persona of Javier Gonzalez Mendez, to help invest me in the story. And trust me, I became quite attached to the persona and continued with the tradition with my 2015 Liverpool story. This attachment to the cause helped me stay invested in a save and that is partly responsibly for why I have the most viewed story of FM15!

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Trust me when I say, Javier Gonzalez Mendez is a huge part of why my Liverpool stories have been so popular. It's been him writing that story as I'm in character; I'm both playing and writing this story in his shoes.



So who is Javier Gonzalez Mendez?

Javier was born in Barcelona on 20th February 1981. He played Professional Football with a few clubs but never got the chance to play for his beloved home club. Injury ended his career at the age of 20 so when hanging up his boots, he had a sense of missed-opportunity. This was the determination to get into coaching and help kids get where he never could... onto the pitch at the Camp Nou!

Javier worked as a youth coach for La Masia between 2001 - 2005 before his talents earned him promotion to Head of Youth Academe. A position he held until 2008 when he was hired by Ajax to be their Head of Youth Development. Working with kids all of his professional career, youth in all he knows and developing young players is both a comfort and a passion of his.

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So what have I done here. I've created a persona for a Manager who is deeply settled into his Catalan roots for attacking, technical football who likes quick technically gifted players having trained them. His career was ended through injury so he is concious of needing a good physiotherapy department. His work at Ajax and Barcelona Academies means I'm aiming to build youth players.

Manager Traits
Trains team sensibly with a lot of physios.
Sign technical players.
Focus on youth.
play attacking football.

Here is the aim. I now know who I am in this save. I have to Manage the team from his point of view and buy what he'd buy, not what the scouts (PA ratings) tell me is available: Is the player a good fit for my ideology?




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Picking a Club. I'm going to go with Swansea city. Liverpool is my first option for a save but there is not much work to be done with them so it's pointless for a guide.

Tip: If starting unemployed, Start the game in January 2015. Identify the teams you want to manage and watch and look at a game they lost but played well. That way you get to see both the teams strengths and weaknesses.


Like I said, I've chosen to manage Swansea. The first thing you should do is look at their history. Figure out who you are managing and know what it is to be the man in charge of that club.

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Swansea are enjoying there first stint in the top flight of English Football. 10 years ago, they started a League 2 campaign that would see them be promoted and rise up to the Premier League. This tells me that they have a hard working ethic and their fan base knows what it's like to see the club rise. They will expect to see me continue this tradition and relegation is an absolute no-no! They've established themselves as a Mid table side which is quite impressive! Finishing 10th, 9th and 11th shows the ability is there.

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The stadium is on the small side, only seating 20,500 people but their facilities are a positive. Immediately, I see something I want to work on straight away. The Youth Level is Level 2. I'm a youth focused coach so raising that and investing in youth facilities is more important to my Manager than investing in training facilities or the stadium.

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The club is spending €42M a year on wages so immediately, I have to be sure we can sustain that.

Income:
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Season Tickets: €11.2M p/y
Gate Recites: €1.7M p/y
Sponsorship: €5.5 p/y
Total: €18.4 p/y

We are €27.6M out of costs already so selling players is probably going to be necessary to make a profit.
We are predicted to finish 12th, which carries a prize pool of €12M, so that loss is down to €15.6.

The higher we finish, the less players we need to sell. This makes league possition more important than cups.
I will be putting youth out in the Capital One and FA Cups to keep the key players fresh for League action.


To update our traits.

Manager Traits
Trains team sensibly with a lot of physios.
Sign technical players.
Focus on youth.
play attacking football.
Plays youth in cups.



I'll now assess the staff roles.

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There is a large Physio department given our stature so I'm very happy with that.

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There is are three Senior staff roles availavle while the Under 18s and Scouting departements need strentening.
I'll get to work on that imediatly and set the preseason training while i'm waiting to hear back from my staff targets.

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I set up my fitness scedual as such to ease the squad back to full fitness. Starting on low, moving to average before one week of high. This is to avoid early pre-season injuries which will affect me looking at squad players in pre-season freindlies.



This is all I could think of for now but I'll update and edit as I remember more of think of anything. This is how I like to play football manager and really get into a long-term save. Hope you enjoyed the read.