Value (at least)
Judging Player Ability
Judging Player Potential
Tactical Knowledge
Man Management
Working With Youngster

Football Manager Mad.    

Starting Out in Football Manager 2011

It can be a bit daunting starting out with a new team particularly in a lower league, where you don't recognise any of the players or staff and have no idea of their abilities. So here's a few tips to help you put together your own team of staff and players as you start your first season with your new team and hopefully to help you win promotion in your first season in charge:

(I am always very ruthless when it comes to my teams, particularly in the first two seasons. Some of these suggestions may seem shocking, but these tactics have always meant that I've been promoted straight from the Blue Square Premier to Npower League 2 in my first season and from the Npower League 2 to Npower League 1 in my second season, so it really does work)

Select Leagues - It is good to select the best leagues as playable even if you don't plan on playing them, as it will increase your player count in the game. You have to do this according to you computer speed and I wouldn't recommend going below 3 stars on computer performance.

These are the leagues I would recommend you select:

England - Blue Square Premier & Above
France - Ligue 2 & Above
Germany - Division 2 & Above
Italy - Serie B & Above
Scotland - Third Division & Above
Spain - Liga Adelante & Above
Argentina - Premier Division
Brazil - First Division

Database Size - When you are setting up your game for the first time, cancel the wizard and then under 'options' you are given the choice of a player database size. I would always recommend starting with a large database of players, as it gives you more choice of players and is more realistic

Assistant Manager - Firstly you need to check the statistics of your assistant manager, if he has low stats for judging player ability and potential he will not give you an accurate assessement of your own players abilities. More than likely your current assistant manager will be below par. Here are some vital stats to check against your existing assistant manager and if he's not up to scratch to help you select a new one:

(These are the minimum recommended stats for a good blue square premier assistant manager, you should be able to get someone who is currently unemployed for free and without having to pay compensation to a club. For higher leagues just add 1 or 2 points to each stat for each league you go up. Once you've found a new assistant but before he signs you can offer a mutual termination to your old assistant manager)

For help with choosing the rest of your team of staff, visit the Staff page.

Building your team - As soon as you have chosen your new team, you want to take a look at the players. Your new assistant manager should now be able to give you a good overview of your team by going to your squad screen and selecting Views > Assistant Reports.

As we are looking for a quick fire promotion you want to sort the players by Current Ability, generally any below 3 stars are not worth keeping and should be transfer listed for a quick sale or released on a free (really you want to be aiming for at least 4 star players in each league you are in), a quick glance at their stats should also tell you if they're worth keeping too. The players section of this site will give a more detailed explanation of what stats to look out for for players in each position and downloadable Quick Filters.

In my first season in charge of Rushden in the blue square premier I sold or released all of my players except for one. This might sound mad and financially disastrous, but it does work. This frees up your wage budget to get much better players on free transfers as well as any transfer fees from selling your players.
You will notice that your finances will most likely be in the red, but don't panic, as long as you're aiming for promotion and you don't go below
-£1,000,000 your board should keep you afloat by injecting money (Trust me the board will be thanking you and singing your praises by the end of the season).

Now you are ready to start negotiating with new players. You will want to start scouring the free transfer market, for suggestions of some good players to sign up on free transfers and which stats to filter for players in each position, go to the players section of the site.

Particularly in the lower leagues it is important to sign players with
strength and pace as well as focusing on these aspects in training as this will give you the edge over other teams. For more information on training, visit the Training section.

You are probably going to need about 16 players plus some loan signings, but most likely your wage budget will be quite low around 10-15k. The way to get around this and still sign quality players is to make sure that you have offered contracts to all of the players you want to sign before completing any deals (you can do this by opting to delay the transfer a week if you need to) because for each player you sign this will decrease your wage budget and the amount you can offer in wages to other player.
By holding off the deal it means you have the option to offer up to the same amount to each player. Then when you have offered contracts to all of the players you want you can start completing the signings.

Don't worry too much about going over your wage budget, in my first 2 seasons my wage bill was double the budget, but again the board should keep you afloat and you will be pushing for promotion.

You may find that you don't do too well in your first few games, again don't panic this will just be due to the fact that you have a lot of new players and they may take a few games to gel. Try not to change the team or formation around too much as this can also upset the teams performances, so try and stick to your best eleven with the odd change.

Signing Players - Additionally to the information above, some players on free transfer or normal transfer may appear to not be interested when you offer them a contract (you can usually see this by the fact that they don't tell you how much in wages they would require in the offer contract screen to join your club). Don't let this put you off, I have signed many excellent and surprising players by offering them as much as my wage budget will allow and good bonuses and signing on fee (if they are a really good player and other clubs are also fighting for their signature you may need to offer maximum of everything, wages, bonuses and signing on fees)

Another indicator is that even if they appear not to be interested, but the wage amount that appears in the contract offering page is less than the maximum you could offer, usually they will sign for that amount. But again if other teams and especially higher league teams are interested you might have to max out your wage, bonus and sign on fee offer to make sure that you get their signature.

Remember to always keep an eye on your finances and try to keep above
-£700,000 so that your board can keep you out of trouble.

Signing Players on Loan - Singing players on loan is a good way of getting extra quality and cover in your team for free. I always find the best way to find top quality payers on loan is to go to the player search screen and filter players listed for loan and ask assistant to filter out unrealistic targets. Hopefully now all the players listed should be willing to join your club, then i sort by value and work my way from the top (the most valuable) according to the positions I need players in. You may need to make offers for a few players before as some may still reject your club.

Request a Parent Club - As soon as you take on your new team I would suggest requesting your board for a parent club, this not only provides extra finance for the club but also the option of taking some quality players on loan from the parent team. If the player they offer to send on loan doesn't look up to scratch cancel the transfer as you only have 4 slots for long-term loans per season and would be better used for good quality loan players.

Arranging friendlies - As soon as you take control of your new team you need to start arranging friendly matches. These are a great way of boosting the finances. Always arrange friendlies to be played at your home ground to maximise your income from the match.

Arrange friendlies with the highest profile teams that will accept your invitation, start with higher teams first and then work your way down the leagues until someone accepts your offer. The higher profile the team, the more money you will earn in fees.

Arrange as many friendlies as possible. I usually arrange a match every third day during the off-season to maximise my income, don't worry about the results of these matches as they are just to generate income and you can use the temporary players and under 18's if your main players are too tired due to the small amount of time between matches.

Make sure your last 2 or 3 friendlies before the new season starts are against very small teams that you can easily beat, this will help to boost your teams morale back up and get them back into a winning stride. Also leave at least 7 days free before the new season to allow your players to recover.

For more help and tips to guide you through your first season and onwards, visit the Hints & Tips section.

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