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Youth Players and selling players in lower league


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So I'm running Bury Town in the BSN. I came in 14th last year, and I was content enough with that since they had only just been promoted and were the only team in the game that would hire me (I'd had a ragequit incident at Bishop's Stortford after a 7-0 loss). But now that I've been at the helm of Bury for a while, two things are dawning on me:

1. I'm signing youth players that are of the sort most of you would recommend, doing the best I can with my resources. Determination of at least 12, no negative personalities, signing them to adult contracts as early as I can, and gearing my training to the attributes they are worst at, with the idea that I can improve a 2 rating much more quickly than I can improve a 10. And those players are improving, but not at a pace that is going to make them any better than the decent BSN level guys that I have now. Because I'm semi-pro and have crap training facilities.

2. When I try and sell players, the only teams who need them or know about them are BSN or perhaps BSP teams. And those teams never have any money for transfers. And since I can't develop or resell players really effectively, the only way I see to stay afloat is to play a bunch of large teams in the preseason, and use the income from those poundings to stockpile cash.

So when you guys are in the BSN/BSS, do you just ignore the idea of developing youth, profitting off buying/selling players, and just make it your mission to sign veterans and get into league football as soon as you can? I'm not looking for specifics like which players to sign, only general ideas on how you approach running BSN/BSS teams.

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you will never sign any FA with enough potential to draw attention from clubs with real money most likely. you should be trying to get promoted, dont try to sell players unless they attract attention from clubs. forget about the buying and selling players for profit, you dont have the cash to buy them, and dont have the facilities to improve them much. its all about salary managment and promotion at that lvl. once you get into league football you can sign a few released kids with some potential (look at the big 6-7 clubs for thier released youths) and you can then start training and selling. still wont be easy at that lvl but you can start

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Pay close attention to how much you are paying each player. Selling all high paid players on even on free transfers is worth it.

The freebies generally can be signed much cheaper. The free transfers are really your best friends, keep them coming in.

I find before turning professional my squad change constantly.

Take advantages of non-contracts, only sign your very best players on real contracts, the others can be on non-contracts since you're not making money on them anyway.

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The only way to make money at this level apart from the odd friendly is a good cup run. Getting something like 10k for a transfer qualifies as a windfall of epic proportions. Almost every transfer is a free.

On top of that, training their weakest attributes is the worst thing you can do. At this level, you are looking to sign one trick ponies. You need to play to your strengths; forget about fixing players' weaknesses - it's not gonna happen. What you want to do is try and sign a striker with 18 jumping and 14 heading, and if possible, raise one of both of those attributes even by a point. Or a winger with 12 crossing; a central midfielder with 13 passing and 10 creativity. Play to their strengths and have players who between them can do a variety of things. A fast striker and a big target man. A midfield bully and a guy who can pass. You might have one or two players who are decent across the board, but you get the most mileage out of players who excel in one or two areas as long as you play to their strengths. Players who can play in several positions can be invaluable in providing you cover while keeping the squad small.

Signing youth is good, but only because their wage demands are lower, not because you're going to sell them on for hundreds of thousands of pounds. You'll really only improve the players through regular game time as well, so don't sign loads of hangers on who can't offer your team something RIGHT NOW. Training will hardly get you anywhere.

Generally I look to sign loads of cheap youngsters who are better than what I have and a few oldies but goldies who still have the odd season left in them to steady the ship. You can often find players in their mid-late thirties a few divisions higher with pretty good mental attributes and decent key attributes for their position who'll join you. Keep an eye out for transfer listed players or unhappy players. You'll probably find that a fair few of your players are on wages that don't mirror their (lack of) abilities and you want to get rid of most of these guys ASAP.

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It looks like I need to drop all the development ideas and just win matches NOW. If I'd kept going like this, I'd have been spending quite a few years in non-league. :(

Unfortunately most of my players are now on (very cheap) contracts. A few core players who make decent money, and something like 35 young players - both youth and 18-20 year old pros, who all make less than 10 pounds a week. I had always figured, why bring in a non-contract guy? Playing him and improving his skills in matches brings no long-term benefit to my club. I had the same attitude with loan players. But I'll add some loans and veteran players this year and let the non first team contracts run out at the end of it all. It looks like loaners and veteran players are where it's at for this level.

With training, my situation was that I've got a RB with stats like this:

Tackling: 11

Marking: 8

Positioning: 10

Other things like pace might be around 10, and strength, etc, are OK.. nothing glaringly weak. Then I've got:

First Touch: 2

Dribbling: 3

Technique: 1

I'd love to improve tackling and positioning and pace, of course. But with my facilities and coaches, I'm not going to make a dent in the 11 tackling. But I might be able to improve the Ball Control abilities by two or three points if I work hard on that.

Of course, it's all a moot point. I can't improve anything by very much. But I'll change up my approach this year and see how it works out. Thanks!

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This is the only way I've played the FM games for probably the last decade - start in the lower leagues and build a club up. I don't leave a club unless sacked because what I want to do is build a squad that can suceed over time AND be financially stable.

In the BSN/S/BSP there is pretty much zero reason to pay a single cent in the transfer market, and if you're patient enough (don't try and find immediate promotion, take 2-4 seasons) you can build a squad that will be cheap to run and will deliver you long-ish term success in the lower leagues until you get promoted to the football league.

I know people like to get their sides promoted as quickly as they can, but I find that if you want to play a long-save quick promotion can kill your club financially (especially because a lot of players like to have +25% promotion wage increases in their contracts).

So, here are my random tips for how I do it (and I'm usually pretty successful - current save is Lewes, from BSS to League 2 in 9 years, paid off all debts/loans and almost have 2 mil pounds in the kitty):

1. Decline invitation to Reserve and U18 leagues - no point in playing in them, costs too much money to fill these teams with players. Just focus solely on your first team.

2. Get in the best AssMan, Coach, Scout, and Physio you can find. 4 Backroom staff is all you need in the lowest semi-pro leagues (Blue Square - I really only play Eng leagues because I like the promotion/relegation system and cups). Make sure stats are reasonable though - DET and Working with Youngsters are key for you, and make sure scout has high PA spotting. At this level you should sack the entire existing backroom staff and bring in your own people.

3. Cut all your regen/youth players. Be ruthless. Pay the termination fees and move on. They are useless to you on your list and can take up valuable wage budget space. Yes, it costs you money to get rid of them, but you'll need the space in your squad for players that you are actually going to play and pay! Get rid of them all - especially if your club has (most likely) terrible youth and training facilities.

4. Preen your first team. The guy on the highest wages who thinks he is the star of the team? Get rid of him - free transfer if you must. There's always one in every lower league team, and as good as they may be, at this level you can have 2-3 similar players ability wise for his wage. Also, cut some of those mid-aged guys (25 - 30) who will have inflated wages and won't improve much anymore. And unless those older guys 30+ have great stats and are on a low wage, cut them from the club too.

5. At this point you should have a decent backroom staff and a small core squad that is left over from your preening of about 5-9 players and a negative financial sheet because of all the contracts you've paid out - don't worry about this yet, because now you can start building your squad in your own image.

6. There are literally millions (probably) of 17 - 22 year-olds who have no club and would love the chance to pull 10 pounds a week playing for your club. Either scout them or, better and easier yet, offer them a trial - costs you nothing and you get to see their full stats. Look for guys with high DET and a professional or ambitious nature and fill out your squad with the best ones in the positions you need. My first signing is ALWAYS the best young uncontracted GK I can find, followed by the best young uncontracted CB I can find - these are the guys you will build the club around. Strong DEF leads to being competitive in the lower leagues.

7. Keep the squad small and to the point - 2 GKs, 7 Ds, 4 Mids, 2 Attackers, and 3 STs. Be ruthless when it comes to wages and you should stay below budget to the point where you can actually start making and saving money.

From this point, with your new squad that cost you nothing and a good backroom staff you can focus on tactics. There is really no point in doing anything other than 4-4-2 at this level, with maybe a 4-3-3 tactic as back-up.

Your young players will naturally improve and develop as long as they are still under 24 y.o. and your (or my) first goal in the first season is simply just to survive and avoid relegation - don't have any fancy designs on a table climb just yet. Play your best in the cups and try to snag a bit of prize-money. You'll soon start to figure out which players are worth keeping and which are worth dropping.

8. Once I'm into it I always get rid of players that I'm never going to play or are simply no good, and always buy 17-18 year olds to top up my squad. In just 2 - 3 seasons my squad is usually pretty strong with talent (because all these talented kids just sit around without clubs!) and those guys I bought to start with have now had a few years of improvement and experience and are now slipping into the "middle-age" of 22-26.

9. You basically can't fail at the lower leagues if you're patient enough. After a few years you'll get promoted without paying a pound and will have a good core of young players to build around.

Look, it's not about DEVELOPING youth in these leagues, but if you stick with a youth policy you can get the same, if not better outcomes over the long-ish term (5 years), while saving a butt-ton of cash for the future. That 38 year old ex-EPL striker might be great to have around the club, but you will get exactly the same output from a 19 year old determined striker for half the price. And forget about making money off selling the players on - in my experience no club is ever interested in paying anything decent for players at this level.

How to make money is through cup-runs and pre-season friendlies. Ones that work best for me are home friendlies against the big clubs RESERVE teams - they are likely to accept the friendly proposal and pack out your home stadium, plus your team has a competitive chance so you won't get flogged and suffer morale drops!

Basically, I try not to do the whole "BSN to EPL in 6 years" thing that people love to brag about - for me it's about actually building a club up from scratch.

Once you get into the Football League you can start thinking about transfer fees and training facilities, but the advantage of being patient is that once you get promoted to League 2 and turn pro (if you weren't already) you already have a squad of battle hardened clubmen with years of experience that you only need to "top-up" with one or two lower-league "stars" - rather than having to spend all your cash just to survive.

I've never been relegated back down the lower leagues once I've won promotion up - except from the Premier League, which is a whole different story entirely if you manage to get all the way up there :p

Patience, youth, thrift, and quality backroom staff.

(I hope that made some sense - kinda TL;DR)

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I know people like to get their sides promoted as quickly as they can, but I find that if you want to play a long-save quick promotion can kill your club financially (especially because a lot of players like to have +25% promotion wage increases in their contracts).

I've found you can almost always take the promotion wage increase and yearly wage increase off a players contract and they still accept (as long as these are the only 2 bonuses you are removing). You might already know but thought I'd point it out.

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Nah, it's not TL;DR at all, Tekno... that's the kind of thing I was after.

I started a new save, where I'm going more with the advice I've read here. If nothing else, it will take me a lot less time to get through a season. I was managing 45 players and picking through training as though I were running Arsenal. At least that will be good practice for when I do make it to league football. :D

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This is the only way I've played the FM games for probably the last decade - start in the lower leagues and build a club up. I don't leave a club unless sacked because what I want to do is build a squad that can suceed over time AND be financially stable.

In the BSN/S/BSP there is pretty much zero reason to pay a single cent in the transfer market, and if you're patient enough (don't try and find immediate promotion, take 2-4 seasons) you can build a squad that will be cheap to run and will deliver you long-ish term success in the lower leagues until you get promoted to the football league.

I know people like to get their sides promoted as quickly as they can, but I find that if you want to play a long-save quick promotion can kill your club financially (especially because a lot of players like to have +25% promotion wage increases in their contracts).

So, here are my random tips for how I do it (and I'm usually pretty successful - current save is Lewes, from BSS to League 2 in 9 years, paid off all debts/loans and almost have 2 mil pounds in the kitty):

1. Decline invitation to Reserve and U18 leagues - no point in playing in them, costs too much money to fill these teams with players. Just focus solely on your first team.

2. Get in the best AssMan, Coach, Scout, and Physio you can find. 4 Backroom staff is all you need in the lowest semi-pro leagues (Blue Square - I really only play Eng leagues because I like the promotion/relegation system and cups). Make sure stats are reasonable though - DET and Working with Youngsters are key for you, and make sure scout has high PA spotting. At this level you should sack the entire existing backroom staff and bring in your own people.

3. Cut all your regen/youth players. Be ruthless. Pay the termination fees and move on. They are useless to you on your list and can take up valuable wage budget space. Yes, it costs you money to get rid of them, but you'll need the space in your squad for players that you are actually going to play and pay! Get rid of them all - especially if your club has (most likely) terrible youth and training facilities.

4. Preen your first team. The guy on the highest wages who thinks he is the star of the team? Get rid of him - free transfer if you must. There's always one in every lower league team, and as good as they may be, at this level you can have 2-3 similar players ability wise for his wage. Also, cut some of those mid-aged guys (25 - 30) who will have inflated wages and won't improve much anymore. And unless those older guys 30+ have great stats and are on a low wage, cut them from the club too.

5. At this point you should have a decent backroom staff and a small core squad that is left over from your preening of about 5-9 players and a negative financial sheet because of all the contracts you've paid out - don't worry about this yet, because now you can start building your squad in your own image.

6. There are literally millions (probably) of 17 - 22 year-olds who have no club and would love the chance to pull 10 pounds a week playing for your club. Either scout them or, better and easier yet, offer them a trial - costs you nothing and you get to see their full stats. Look for guys with high DET and a professional or ambitious nature and fill out your squad with the best ones in the positions you need. My first signing is ALWAYS the best young uncontracted GK I can find, followed by the best young uncontracted CB I can find - these are the guys you will build the club around. Strong DEF leads to being competitive in the lower leagues.

7. Keep the squad small and to the point - 2 GKs, 7 Ds, 4 Mids, 2 Attackers, and 3 STs. Be ruthless when it comes to wages and you should stay below budget to the point where you can actually start making and saving money.

From this point, with your new squad that cost you nothing and a good backroom staff you can focus on tactics. There is really no point in doing anything other than 4-4-2 at this level, with maybe a 4-3-3 tactic as back-up.

Your young players will naturally improve and develop as long as they are still under 24 y.o. and your (or my) first goal in the first season is simply just to survive and avoid relegation - don't have any fancy designs on a table climb just yet. Play your best in the cups and try to snag a bit of prize-money. You'll soon start to figure out which players are worth keeping and which are worth dropping.

8. Once I'm into it I always get rid of players that I'm never going to play or are simply no good, and always buy 17-18 year olds to top up my squad. In just 2 - 3 seasons my squad is usually pretty strong with talent (because all these talented kids just sit around without clubs!) and those guys I bought to start with have now had a few years of improvement and experience and are now slipping into the "middle-age" of 22-26.

9. You basically can't fail at the lower leagues if you're patient enough. After a few years you'll get promoted without paying a pound and will have a good core of young players to build around.

Look, it's not about DEVELOPING youth in these leagues, but if you stick with a youth policy you can get the same, if not better outcomes over the long-ish term (5 years), while saving a butt-ton of cash for the future. That 38 year old ex-EPL striker might be great to have around the club, but you will get exactly the same output from a 19 year old determined striker for half the price. And forget about making money off selling the players on - in my experience no club is ever interested in paying anything decent for players at this level.

How to make money is through cup-runs and pre-season friendlies. Ones that work best for me are home friendlies against the big clubs RESERVE teams - they are likely to accept the friendly proposal and pack out your home stadium, plus your team has a competitive chance so you won't get flogged and suffer morale drops!

Basically, I try not to do the whole "BSN to EPL in 6 years" thing that people love to brag about - for me it's about actually building a club up from scratch.

Once you get into the Football League you can start thinking about transfer fees and training facilities, but the advantage of being patient is that once you get promoted to League 2 and turn pro (if you weren't already) you already have a squad of battle hardened clubmen with years of experience that you only need to "top-up" with one or two lower-league "stars" - rather than having to spend all your cash just to survive.

I've never been relegated back down the lower leagues once I've won promotion up - except from the Premier League, which is a whole different story entirely if you manage to get all the way up there :p

Patience, youth, thrift, and quality backroom staff.

(I hope that made some sense - kinda TL;DR)

You speak a lot of sense apart from the not rushing into promotion thing, with the way you do things you should look at a maximum of 2 years per division.

For example I have had 2 long term saves on FM12, both building from the bottom up, and I pretty much do what you do. Save 1 I started with Chester in the Northern Premier League, I was in the Premier league in 7 years, after 6 straight promotions I came 15th in the championship then won it. I won the champions league in 15 years and the prem for the first time the season after.

In my second go, starting with Vauxhall in the BSN, I won promotion at the first attempt by as you say getting rid of virtually evertone and signing 15 new players on loans or £5pw wages. First year in the BSP I lost int he playoffs, then got promoted, won league 2 first time, finished 5th in league 1 and won the play offs, then finished 5th in the champ and lost in the play off final to Watford on pens, and currently I am top of the championship after 31 games, after selling over £16million worth of players and not spending a single penny on tranfer fees yet.

As a reply to the original post, when starting in the Blue Square regional or lower, get rid of everyone over £100 a week wages as they just aren't worth it, no matter who they are. Spend a good couple of hours really scouting everywhere and asking just about everyone to sign who would do a job, if they want less than £100 a week get them on a 1 year contract, no longer, the only exception to this is if your scouts say they are good enough for the football league potential wise, in which case 3 year contracts. Accept ANY money bids for any player as you can bring someone in just as good on a free. The only thing I do differently from the post above is I get the best coaches in and as many as possible and scouts wise I dont care about telling me current player ability, I can see that for myself with the attributes, so I just get scouts with a high 'player potential' rating.

Any money you get in, mither the board to put it back into the club, doesnt matter if its junior recruitment, youth network, facilities or the ground, as long as they are improving the club. Seriously you do not need to spend a penny on tranfer fees until in the prem.

As long as you can be bothered to scout properly and take your time doing it, you will fly up the leagues.

Hope this helps, it feels like I have been drivelling on for ages.

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PS in the blue square regional or lower, all you need for a decent player is pace and determination, for any position. If you can get their key stats on top of those 2, you really will have the best player in the division bar none. Oh, defenders need bravery too.

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PS in the blue square regional or lower, all you need for a decent player is pace and determination, for any position. If you can get their key stats on top of those 2, you really will have the best player in the division bar none. Oh, defenders need bravery too.

I tried that for a couple of seasons with strikers. I signed guys like Ethan Mannion (who is quick for BSN) and a bunch of regens who honestly couldn't do too much other than run fast. It didn't work out, because they NEVER won balls. Any long kick from my goalkeeper was almost guaranteed to come instantly rocketing back towards my half. Passes towards them often would get intercepted. The only times they did anything exciting was when an opponent screwed up or someone tapped a really perfect through ball for them. And even then they'd be offside or miss the net half the time. Most of my goals came from my wide midfielders. I don't think any of those speed only strikers had more than 10 in a season. Though I'll be the first to admit it could have been my tactics.

The best striker I've had so far was a guy with 7 pace and 7 acceleration, but smart and good in the air. In his honor, I just signed a striker for my Bishop's Stortford team in my new save who has 5 pace, good mentals, and 17 strength. I don't know how that will work out... I mean, 5 pace... but it'll be interesting to see how he does. I'm planning to use him against defensive oriented teams.

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I tried that for a couple of seasons with strikers. I signed guys like Ethan Mannion (who is quick for BSN) and a bunch of regens who honestly couldn't do too much other than run fast. It didn't work out, because they NEVER won balls. Any long kick from my goalkeeper was almost guaranteed to come instantly rocketing back towards my half. Passes towards them often would get intercepted. The only times they did anything exciting was when an opponent screwed up or someone tapped a really perfect through ball for them. And even then they'd be offside or miss the net half the time. Most of my goals came from my wide midfielders. I don't think any of those speed only strikers had more than 10 in a season. Though I'll be the first to admit it could have been my tactics.

The best striker I've had so far was a guy with 7 pace and 7 acceleration, but smart and good in the air. In his honor, I just signed a striker for my Bishop's Stortford team in my new save who has 5 pace, good mentals, and 17 strength. I don't know how that will work out... I mean, 5 pace... but it'll be interesting to see how he does. I'm planning to use him against defensive oriented teams.

As a GENERAL rule, it works for the most part when you're down that low, but you're right, for strikers you should make sure that stats like finishing are as high as you can find as well.

As another RIDICULOUSLY GENERAL rule, when you're down that low, as long as a player has a majority of stats 5 or more then they should be a decent player. At that level a lot of players have a few stats that are 1 (or less :p )

But, in the tactic screen, clicking on each player will highlight which stats should be high for each position. I find if you can get the majority of those stats 7+ then you should have a decent base to build a squad from.

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Can personally say that scouring the released youths list every year at that level is a MUST. A lot of hidden gems in there that get released by the top clubs because they believe they won't make the cut. Best I found was in FM11, after finishing my first season with Havant & Waterlooville. Picked up a striker released from Man City with 16 finishing, strong pace and acceleration, solid determination, but below average physicals. Combined with a couple of good ball-players I'd found there too, he set the BSN alight. 9 years later, hitting the Premier League, he was still with me and banging them in consistently. The place can be a gold mine!

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