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Europe's 3rd Tier Leagues

Europe's 3rd Tier Leagues Taking over the reins at one of the world’s biggest and best clubs is one thing, and obviously comes with its own challenges and rewards. But there is something special about becoming the manager at a lower league side and guiding them up the footballing pyramid. Sometimes, success can be measured by achieving stability at a club, bringing back the crowds and developing youth. At the same time, of course, improving your own skills, experience, reputation and managerial CV is crucial. Here we look at three of Europe’s third tier leagues - a level of the pyramid that we have already seen has some incredible fanbases, to see if any whet your appetite.

League 1 – England


The lower down the pyramid you go, there may be less scrutiny by the mainstream press, but the passion, pressure and excitement is the same. Bookmakers still have the same bonuses, bets and offers; managers still lose their jobs if they fail to deliver, and 3 o'clock on Saturday is still the most important time of the week for their fans. Running your eye down the list of clubs in England’s third tier shows it is a mix of former greats, clubs that have seemingly reached their natural level, and others who are on their way up, with their eyes on the Championship and even beyond. All three of those groups offer their own unique challenges to the ambitious FM20 player.

This season the league does have three clubs that can legitimately consider themselves in the “big” category, even if recent years haven’t been kind to them. Sunderland, Ipswich Town and Portsmouth all average crowds of over 17,500, with Ipswich attracting more than 20,000 and Sunderland getting north of 30,000. That creates its own pressures and expectations, and anything short of a quick return could result in a manager being shown the door. Fleetwood and Wycombe are two sides with a moderate backing, but are definitely on the up, and don’t suffer from the excess baggage that often comes with the bigger sides. The top two clubs gain promotion with the next four going into the play-offs. The bottom four usually get relegated, but with Bury falling out of the league already, this season just three clubs will drop to League 2.

Segunda División B – Spain


Manage in Barcelona with only a fraction of the pressure 

The third tier in Spain is unusual to say the least, in that it involves 80 teams. Since the 1987/88 season, the Spanish third tier is divided into four leagues each with 20 teams. Here is an in depth look at its set up, but in a nutshell, those four leagues are divided on a regional basis. Grupo 1 is made up of clubs from the north west region, Grupo 2 from the north, Grupo 3 from the east and Grupo 4 from the south. This has the dual benefits of saving on transport costs, while also ensuring there are plenty of local rivalries. Another feature of Segunda División B is that it features the B sides of the nation’s larger teams, including Barcelona.

There are two other things that managers must take into account. Each side can have no more than 16 players over 23 years of age, and no less than 10 with full professional contracts. The winners and runners up of each league go into a play-off, with the two winning semi-finalists getting promoted, before playing off to decide the ultimate champion.

3. Liga – Germany


The Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, Germany’s top two leagues, are run by the DFL (German Football League), whereas 3. Liga is run by the DFB, the German FA. It is made up of 20 sides, including the B-sides of the country’s larger clubs, such as Bayern Munich II, and is the highest tier that a reserve team is allowed to play in. Attendances are generally healthy, with a number of teams getting average crowds not far off 20,000. The top two teams are promoted, with the third placed side playing against the 16th positioned Bundesliga 2 team. The bottom four teams are relegated. [post_ads_2]

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FM BLOG: Europe's 3rd Tier Leagues
Europe's 3rd Tier Leagues
Here we look at three of Europe’s third tier leagues in Football Manager 2020. Dare to manage in at the lower leagues in FM20?
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