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Enhancing Your Experience Further

Advanced Game Setup

If you want to have greater control about the setup of your new career, and include several more leagues than the Quick Start setup allows, then you should use the Advanced Setup option.

Rather than selecting a team and getting into your career as quickly as possible, you can tweak and tailor things to your exact requirements here. The ‘Add/Remove Leagues’ button is the nominal starting point; this is where you can choose the nations represented in your career. Upon hitting ‘Confirm’, the ‘Active Leagues’ panel populates with a list of leagues from the selected nations, their playable status, and the reason for inclusion where one exists.

From here, you can then use the drop-down menu for each country’s entry in the list to determine how many leagues from that nation are loaded in. The more leagues you include, the more players are in your saved game, and the slower the Estimated Game Speed – indicated in the panel to the right of the screen – theoretically becomes.

Switching between Playable and View-Only mode allows you to include countries in your game for the express purpose of increasing the scope of your game world; View-Only achieves this on the proviso that you cannot manage there without converting it to Playable by using the Add or Remove Leagues option within your saved game. The hybrid Playable/View-Only Below mode allows you to set which levels of a league’s structure are playable, and which are View-Only.

In a similar manner to the loading of numerous leagues and nations into a save, the size of the database loaded into a save determines to some extent the level of realism managers experience in their saved game. Naturally, a larger database includes more players and teams from the football world, whereas a smaller one includes what are considered the core and most important items. More capable PCs are able to handle larger databases, but less capable ones may want to consider using a smaller option.

For example, a small database might load 8000 players worldwide into the saved game, but a large database adds closer to 15000.

You also have the option to set up an ‘Advanced’ Database. Selecting this option presents a filter dialog from which you can then select preferences when constructing your database. For example, you may wish to load in every player from England and every player of French nationality regardless of the nation they are based in. This method allows you to be very flexible and specific when setting up your saved game.

The ‘Advanced Options’ section at the foot of the screen provides eight options to further refine your experience:

Use Fake Players and Staff

This tick box does pretty much exactly what it suggests. Ticking it generates a whole world of ‘fake’ players and staff instead of using the usual and familiar names and faces.

Do not use Real Fixtures

Tick this box to prevent the use of real life fixtures in for nations and leagues that use them by default. A fictional schedule is instead created while retaining the same competition rules.

Do not Add Key Staff

Tick this box if you do not want the game to add key backroom staff (such as Assistant Managers) to teams that do not have them.

Add Players to Playable Teams

If certain playable teams are unable to fulfil particular squad requirements at the start of a new saved game, ticking this box ensures that their playing squad is filled out with sufficient personnel.

Disable First Transfer Window Activity

Football Manager™ typically starts a new game in the pre-season preceding the current season in the real world. The database therefore reflects this in squad lists and team transfer budgets. By disallowing transfer activity in the first transfer window, the saved game reflects the real world more accurately than if the save allows teams to make moves they did not make in real life. Simply put, this is another option to add to the realism of your saved game.

Disable Player Attribute Masking

Attribute masking, colloquially referred to in places as ‘Fog of War’, is a concept where certain attributes (or in some cases all) are not visible to the human manager because Football Manager™ assumes a manager of your experience and age does not necessarily know everything about every player in the world. These attributes can be revealed through scouting or interaction with the player as you progress in your career. If you wish to simply display all information and attributes from the off, tick this option.

Prevent control of teams with managers in place

Tick this option if you want to restrict managerial options to those clubs that do not currently have a manager employed and instead only have the option to take charge where vacancies exist.

Prevent use of the In-Game Editor

If you wish to completely prevent the In-Game Editor from being used in a particular saved game, ensure this option is ticked when creating it. This action cannot be reversed once the saved game has been started.

Add or Remove Leagues

You are not restricted to playing in the leagues added upon starting a new game. From this screen you are able to add and/or remove leagues to the saved game at any point, but a league which has been added will only become active when the new season begins in that country.

To remove a league or nation, simply click on the ‘-’ icon next to its name.

The act of adding nations and leagues to your game will likely impact your overall experience; the additional player numbers and resulting performance and speed of the game will change with every addition or subtraction you make before hitting ‘Confirm’.

Detail Level

The Detail Level screen allows the manager to configure their saved game even further in order to optimise performance as much as possible.          

The screen contains all competitions loaded into the save and allows the manager to specify which matches are processed in full detail and which use the quick match engine and when. They can be set from various stages of competition – for example just the later stages can be set to generate in their entirety while the remainder of the competition is handled by the quick match engine, which is used as standard for competitions not loaded into your saved game. The option to generate the entire competition fully is available (All), as is the option to generate the entire competition with just the quick match engine (None).

Custom Screen Flow

The Screen Flow section can be found by searching for Screen Flow on the Preferences screen. This allows you to configure a series of screens to display at determined intervals during the course of your game.

For example, you can ask the game to show you the ‘English Sky Bet Championship’ ‘Overview|Stages’ ‘Every Week’ ‘During Competition’ and have it stop the game from processing during the ‘Morning’, by adding an entry with each of those settings. The end product is that, at weekly intervals (the start day is determined by the day you set up the Screen Flow item), you are taken to the ‘Stages’ screen of that competition, giving you the opportunity to review whatever content you want to from that competition. Repeat the process as much as you like for as many competitions as you need to.

It is designed to aid immersion in your own personal game world and keep you abreast of what’s going on outside of your immediate league.

Please note Screen Flow only appears when a saved game is loaded and the options are configurable on a per-saved game basis.

Pre-Game Editor

The Football Manager™ Editor is a powerful application that allows the manager to modify the Football Manager™ 2021 game database. As a part of the Editor, you can edit and create competitions. For help using the editor, please visit the Community Forums at http://community.sigames.com/.

The Pre-Game Editor is an advanced user tool that has something of a learning curve, but simple changes can be made with a minimum of fuss.

1.       Select ‘File’ and ‘Load Database’, then select the chosen database you want to edit. This will most likely be the most recent database released by Sports Interactive, e.g. 20.0.1.

2.       The database loads; this should take a few moments on most computers or devices.

3.       Select an area from the ‘Database’ list in the bottom left of the screen. Let’s choose ‘People’.

4.       Select ‘Add Condition’, ‘Second Name’, and then search for your desired Person to edit by Surname.

5.       Select the desired Person from the list of results and then hit ‘Edit’.

The ‘Database’ section of the screen is now updated to show the various parts of a Person’s profile.

Details: Their biographical information.

Contract: Everything relating to their current contract.

Person Data: Attributes not displayed in-game, Job Preferences, Current or Planned Retirements, Languages Spoken, Days Spent in Nation (for Home Grown rules), and Career Plans.

Player Data: Basic Positional and Ability Data, Positions, Physical/Technical/Mental/Goalkeeping Attributes, Player Traits, Injuries, Suspensions, and MLS-Specific Information.

Relationships: Liked and Disliked People and Clubs.

History: Their year-by-year career path.

Achievements: Details of significant milestones achieved as part of a team.

Changes: A log of all changes you make to the Person.

Make any changes you want, then ensure they’re saved and prepared for use in a new saved game.

1.       Select ‘File’ again, and now ‘Save Editor Data As’.

2.       A dialog pops up asking you to give the changes file a name. You are advised to save the file in the path presented by default, as this is where it is read from. If it is saved elsewhere you will have to manually ensure it is placed back into Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager™ 2021/Editor Data for it to be read into the game.

3.       Save the File.

4.       Start a new game of Football Manager™ 2021. Where Editor Data Files are found, you are prompted to select whether or not they are included in your new game by means of a tick box. Please also note that their presence results in the ‘Quick Setup’ mode being bypassed; you will have to use the Advanced Setup mode.

The same process applies to simple editing of any database object, yet the power of the Pre-Game Editor extends much, much further. Please refer to the advice given on the majority of screens in the Editor as well as on the Community Forums for more help on getting to grips with some of the more advanced capabilities.

Editor Data Files

If you have created or edited any nations, leagues or competitions in the Pre-Game Editor, and have saved them into the Editor Data folder, they appear here for your selection and inclusion in game. Each creation has a tick box which, if selected, includes the desired choice in your game.

Please note that if you include files which, for whatever reason, may conflict (if for example they have been created by different managers), you may not be able to include them in your game without first resolving the issues. The issue(s) can be identified by holding the mouse cursor over the exclamation mark indicating that there is an error. Among the most common conflicts is that the same data has been edited in multiple files, meaning you then have to decide which file to proceed with, as only one set of changes can be made to a game object.

When the game has finished loading, you are prompted to complete your managerial profile and add a manager to the game.

In-Game Editor

The Football Manager™ In-Game Editor is purchasable through Steam and allows you to make real-time edits to your saved games. Once activated, you will notice an ‘Edit’ option on various screens and in assorted Actions Menus.

The ‘Edit’ option on the Title Bar typically allows you to edit ‘hidden’ attributes and values, such as a player’s Current and Potential Abilities. The ‘Edit’ functionality found within the ‘Actions’ menu, however (click on ‘Start Editing’), allows you to edit a person’s profile ‘live’, as you see it. For example, a player’s attributes and biographical details turn into editable fields while editing is enabled, with the values open to alteration. Once you’re happy with the amendments, click on ‘Stop Editing’ from the same ‘Actions’ menu section.

You can toggle whether or not the In-Game Editor is active for each saved game during the setup process.

You can also toggle whether it appears in the tabs bar or not in the Game Preferences.


There are a vast number of achievements to tick off during your Football Manager career. You can see a full list of them by visiting the appropriate section on the platform you’re playing on (e.g. Steam), and you can compare your progress to that of managers around the world.

Online Play and Streaming

It couldn’t be easier to stream Football Manager™ 2021 and share your experience with a wider audience.

Beginner Broadcasting


Broadcasting Setup and Software


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