This piece was originally written for FM11, where my main save was an Arsenal save based almost entirely around self-sustainability and revenue generation. My current Wolves save is also in a similar mould. I’ve edited some areas in order to ensure they’re still relevant to FM13, but the majority of the guide remains the same as the ideas remain suitable. It’s a short overview of finances in FM and I’ll almost certainly go into more detail in specific areas, but this is a good place to start.
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Obviously making more profit is all about increasing revenue and minimising costs – it’s the basic business principle. I’ll attempt to focus on both costs and revenue throughout this guide.
Perhaps the most integral part of staying financially healthy in Football Manager is playing at as high a level as football as is possible for your team. Financially, promotions can never come too quick, as the short-term gains are often massive, even if you are relegated the following season. The higher up your respective country’s league system you go, the more money there will be in every possible monetary aspect – prize money, gate receipts, higher valued players etc. If I’m not sure about whether my club is ready for promotion or not, I always err on the risky side because of the financial benefits it can bring.
Another vital piece of staying financially prudent on Football Manager is not buying what you can’t afford. It’s all very well buying a star striker for £2million more than your transfer budget but if your club already has large debts then monthly installments are more than likely to hinder your finances. I try and steer clear of monthly installments, but they are sometimes useful for on-field performances because it often means you are bringing a player who is perhaps out of your price range. If he’s going to help accelerate your growth then monthly installments can be a good investment. However, one way to decrease the initial transfer fee of a player is to use the Favoured Personnel mechanism. As much as you may dislike some opposing managers in the game, it’s usually best to praise them. This is because they generally accept a lower transfer fee for one of their players if they think you’re a nice chap.
On the other hand, selling players at the right time is also vital. For example, Fabregas was beginning to age, and was getting injured often, so when a £65m offer came in from Real Madrid, I sent him packing. It’s often difficult to let go of players that you’ve become so attached to, but if you’re to stick to the financial code of FM, you need to remove all emotional attachment. By the age of 28 you need to seriously consider how your team would perform without the player. After this age, a player tends to slightly decline and his value can significantly decrease. Also make sure you get rid of any deadwood when selling players – it’s all well and good winning the reserves league every year as you’ve got a number of strong backups, but it doesn’t bring any sort of financial benefit. If a player isn’t playing first team football, he’s likely to depreciate in value, so you should be looking to offload him.
As obvious as it seems, contract negotiations can also be an excellent way to cut costs. There are a number of techniques that can be used here but one of my favourites is creating pay-as-you-play deals for the more injury-prone players in the squad, as well as the backup and rotational players. It’s often difficult to do this, particularly with difficult agents, but if you can pull it off, it cuts costs dramatically. As well as this, make sure you always refer to your scout report of a player when deciding what wage to offer. Some agents completely take the piss and ask for far more than their client is worth. If you’ve got your scout report to hand, you know what sort of range you’re likely to be able to negotiate him into. Also, make sure you remove all the horrible clauses and replace them with nice clauses. Examples of clauses we don’t much like are the Yearly Wage Rise and Match Highest Earner clauses – self explanatory as to why. However, Minimum Fee Release Clause, Bonus after League Goals, Team of The Year Bonus and other similar clauses are all excellent additions to a contract. Not only does it lower wages fairly dramatically, but it also creates an incentive style contract in which a player is paid well if he plays well.
Another technique for lower-league clubs is to organise home friendlies against the big teams. Whilst these are often expensive to organise, the revenue generated from the games is also very handy. However, keep in mind the size of your ground. If you’ve got a 4k stadium then you’re simply not going to be able to fit enough fans in to make up the fee you originally payed for the friendly. As well as this, lower-league clubs should always try and find parent clubs – even if you don’t use them for loanees, then the parent club usually pays an annual fee, which can be up to £1.5million in some cases.
Here’s perhaps an unpopular idea, but I’ve seen it used incredibly effectively and if you’re committed to your game then it can save a fair amount of money. Try and absolutely minimise the number of scouts you have in the game and do the majority of scouting yourself, manually. You can save up to £50k per week by lowering the size of your scouting department, which really does add up.
And finally, try and only hire ‘Coaches’ – this gives you far more flexibility than having specialists. Whilst First Team Coaches and Youth Coaches only train their respective teams, a Coach effectively does both, and usually for a lower wage than a First Team Coach. This can save another £50k per week for big clubs, and combined with the trimming of the scouting department, a £100k saving every single week. That’s £4.8million per season.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed the guide. It’s more of a list than anything, but hopefully it’ll spark some discussion and a few of you can add your ideas in the comments section below. If you don’t agree with any of the points then you’re also welcome to argue your case.