There are usually two types of people who play "Football Manager" games. Those who wants to see the club they're supporting in real life to it's well deserved glory, and those who wants to grab a taste of the feeling of being a football manager.
Most people start with their favourite team and keep playing seasons after seasons. But for others, FM is a journey of life. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that one way is better way to play than another, it's just about satisfaction.
In this article, ill write about the "Low League Management" and there is just one question i have to ask before you go further from this point.
"Do you have what it takes ?"
(If your answer is "Hell Yeah! Bring it on!" keep reading.)
Setting the game database is mostly depends on which countries and leagues you find enjoyable and interesting. Consider that; you have to think in the long run, because it's a common thing to get sacked in lower leagues or after a successful run with a team, you'll get offers/look for better alternative jobs ( depending on your profile improvement ) time to time. Which is why, you need to add up the leagues you think you'd like to your game database.
Also setting a custom database for the specific league that you think you want to play, could help you to find more players those suit for your team.
Setting Up Your Manager Profile & Choosing a Team
So, you think you have what it takes to become a worldwide Football Manager, from nothing. Good! Determination and patience is going to be your first step on this journey.
Setting up a manager profile for low league management is a simple task. you just have to figure out one thing;
You're going to start from the bottom for sure, but how low is it going to be? You will answer this question on the "Managerial Style" screen.
If you want the "Absolute 0" (Unemployed) start;
1) Set Coaching Badges (License) to "None"
2) Set Past Playing Experience to "Sunday League Footballer"
And I'd recommend to move the Style focus bar to Coaching Attributes(left) side, just a little bit.
If you're going to start with a team that you fancy on lower leagues, tick on the;
"Suggest badge based on division/team name" and "Suggest experience based on division/team name" buttons after you select the division and your team.
Assuming that you've started unemployed, just go on holiday and apply for available clubs automatically (I'd recommend "Any clubs" option) and take the interview when they want you. Be careful with the answers you gave them though.
You're A Manager Now!
Well, you've taken the first step of your journey, you've taken charge of your first club! Congratulations.
First thing you want to do is going through the team report if you have an assistant manager, (if not try to sign one or look through the players by yourself) and get the basic idea about your squad. Also taking a look into the team's history would give you some ideas about the board's expectations from you.
If you want to be satisfied with your career and progress, you need to set your targets straight. When setting a target for yourself and for your team at the beginning of a new career in low leagues, the key is being realistic, patient and determined. Don't expect promotions every season, don't get frustrated when you lost few games in a row, well, it happens. Just keep going forward and keep the optimism.
Squad & Transfers and Scouting
After you go through your Team Report, you'll have the basic idea of your squad. Players with even one or two high attributes are valuable at this stage. Use them! After, few friendly games, you'll see how well are your players doing and will figure out at which positions you need to sign new players.
I'd strongly recommend to you to ask the board to find a "Senior Affiliate/Parent Club" right from the start to loan players from bigger clubs. That benefits you more than you could imagine.
But if you want to sign players, search for experienced players (29-34 years old) with high attributes or youngsters that has specific strengths such as
Pace, Acceleration, Strength, Natural Fitness, Finishing, Tackling, Marking, Crossing etc.
( At least two of these attributes ~11+/20) depending on the position.
Assign your scouts to your league and the one-upper league in your country. Also, set some assignments to the local cup tournaments. In time, after you can afford, you want to assign them to overseas to find valuable youngsters.
If you don't have scouts, sign few up with attributes as high as possible on "Judging Player Ability" and "Judging Player Potential" (10-13/20 is ideal-good for low leagues for both attributes)
Keep that in mind, signing free transfers could benefit you more in the future. Try to keep the club's spendings just for wages, not for transfer fees early in the game.
Enjoying the new beginning so far? I thought so. Now getting to the essentials of your baby steps in your journey.
In lower leagues, things are really complicated, there is no guarantee for anything, anytime. To prevent this situation, you need to keep your tactic as simple as you can.
Okay, you know what? I'm going to be completely honest with you. Since you don't have high quality and creative players, your only option is to keep it simple and safe, sorry!
In my humble opinion, best formations for lower leagues are
4-4-2 / 4-5-1
Depending on your squad's structure. But tactics are things way more than just formations. What really will get you the results, are "Mentality" and "Team & Player instructions". Remember, you need to keep it simple, don't go out looking for unnecessary adventures. But of course, after all, it's all up to you.
Mentality : I prefer "Counter" mentality in low leagues which fits almost every scenario, though you need to tweak it sometimes a little bit depending on the opponent before the game or during the game by analysing how things go.
About the Team Instructions : There are two options I think is safe for low league plays. Long Balls to the opposition side of the pitch and, "Barca Style" passing play, depending on your players' attributes.
Here are some files that i'm also using in my games, made by me. Just copy them into the by default:
"C:\Users\username\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2016\team_strategies" folder
Long Ball Play : [Download ##download##] File Size : 71B / Date Added : 04.03.2016
Shorter Passing Play : [Download ##download##] File Size : 73B / Date Added : 04.03.2016
About Player Instructions : Well, that's completely up to you, after analysing your players strengths and weaknesses.
Bored already? *Assertively : "Show some passion"* Don't worry, we're almost done!
Team training is very important for your success, I'd recommend setting the General Training to "Fitness" and "Team Cohesion" on pre-season and setting the Match Preparation to "Match Tacits" for first 2-3 games and later on "Teamwork", still during the pre-season. During the season, it's something you need to decide depending on which plays your team lacks.
Individual training is crucial in the long run. That's where your analysing skills kicks in, trust me, it has massive effect on a players development and will benefit you a lot!
Try to assign some coaches, if you have enough budget, with specific attributes on specific trainings. Coaches effect your players development and improve on your team's play-style too much in FM 2016.
Assuming that you didn't choose the highest license possible, time to time the game allows you to go on the "Coaching Course", if your club can and want to pay for it, you start taking courses and eventually, get the one step higher license, which also improves your stats in your profile. That's a good thing to keep it going during your career, which also makes it easier to sign for higher clubs in time. It's not that important if you're planning on staying on the same club through the years, but definitely is going to favour you, wouldn't harm to do either.
+ Remember that, patience and determination is the key.
+ Pay attention to your player's attributes and use them wise.
+ Try to improve them as much as you can.
+ Don't get overwhelmed, if you get bored or frustrated but still want to play FM, switch to another save game for a while, where you're at the top of the world.
+ Keep the optimistic attitude.
+ Set your targets realistic.
+ Don't try hard to get promoted every season, because that's when things get out of control. Especially, if your finance is not good. It cause an instant relegation most of the time.
Well, I hope you were able to read until this point without bleeding from your eyes. Sorry for my big mouth and thank you for your patience. Hope you'll have a great career that satisfies you. Have a good one!