1000 Years in the Future Experiment, this time with more Countries

So, last year I had a spare laptop lying around, and thought it would be cool to try and sim out 1000 years with more than just one country enabled. That laptop, and aging Dell Alienware that was about 6 years old, died. So I replaced it with a new laptop, loaded the save, and kept simming, and it took awhile, but we got it complete, and you can read about it here:https://www.reddit.com/r/footballmanagergames/comments/mffdhb/six_countries_1000_years_in_the_future/

This year, with the new laptop, I’m going to try and do the experiment again, this time a little, ok a lot, bigger.Here’s what I am using computer wise: A MainGear laptop with an i7-10870h with 2.2Ghz (16 CPUS) and, 32GB of RAM, and an RTX 2060 with 6GB of RAM.Seeing as how the Alienware was only an i7-6700(ish) and had a 970M as a graphics card, this is a step up.

Countrywise, we’re going with 24:


Countries enabledAnd this is the League setup. Maybe 100K player DB is too big, time will tell:


In all, 54 leagues from 24 nations in play.


I’ve got the game being saved every three months, and I’ll keep it running as long as I can. I know in the last experiment around year 700 things got realllly slow, and I fully expect the same thing to happen this time. I’ll post updates about milestones reached, 100 years, 250 years and the like, but I do not plan at looking at the final result until 1000 years have passed, or the game has just gotten to big to process.Last time I did this it took six months, so using that as a baseline, End of May?Fingers crossed, and sayig a prayer to the FM Gods for a full 1000 years…Thanks for reading!

Scouting in Football Manager: You get out of it what you put into it

Part One: Setup

There are a lot of guides out there on scouting and how to do it well, but this is not going to be as in depth and as detailed as some of those. Rather it is more of a tips guide that I use with my teams to help me find those hidden Newgens that appear after the first season. I tend to play a lot of single club, Road to Glory type saves, but I use these methods/tips in all my saves in one fashion or another.

Scouting in FM seems to go one of two ways: the computer does everything, or the player does everything. My experience is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground between the two. I tend to be the latter sort of manager. I like scouting, there’s something to be said about finding that hidden player/newgen that noone else has found. Honestly the time spent on the 1 start current 4 star potential player who tops out as 2 stars may seem like its been wasted, but the feelings you get when you miss on a player are set aside when you hit on a player who does turn into something, be it a solid contributor for your team or a club/world legend.

First up, we have to talk about scope, and what I mean by that is “Does your clubs setup scouting match or exceed your clubs stature?” My current save is with Crystal Palace, an English Premier League team. While not as recognized as Manchester or Liverpool, it has the ability and funds to have a Worldwide scouting package. Likewise, if you are starting out as say, Ebbsfleet, a Worldwide scouting package is going to be to expensive to maintain, but even if you could afford it your board may limit where you can and cannot scout. That said, there are still some tips and tricks you can use to set yourself up for the future should you start at an Ebbsfleet, and I’ll go thru both scenarios.

Regardless of club size, the most important step in setting up scouting is making sure you have the best backroom staff you can afford. Even at Palace there are scouts I could not sign because they either:

  1. Thought the Club wasn’t big enough in stature
  2. They had just signed a new contract with their current club
  3. I could not meet their wage demands due to the board limitations and/or my available wages.

That said the type of scout you should be looking for depends on your clubs current Recruitment Focus in Club Culture, of which there are 8 options:

  • Sign Players of “X” Nationality, ie sign players from Ivory Coast, or Basque players for Athletico Bilbao
  • Sign Players Based in Nation, ie sign homegrown players who are currently based in Germany
  • Sign players from the lower levels of the Domestic game. This can be harder if you are starting out in one of those lower levels, but what it means is the club is looking for a good percentage of the player you recruit should come from divisions lower than the one you are in. To be honest I am not sure if they mean domestically or Internationally here.
  • Sign High Reputation Players
  • Sign players under the age of “X” for the first team, ie under the age of 23
  • Sign players under the age of “X” for the future, ie under the age of 19
  • Sign players from Domestic Rivals
  • Don’t sign players over the age of “X”, ie, don’t sign players over the age of 30

There are four major attributes you are looking for in a good scout, but which ones are the most important depend on the scouting assignment you are creating.

Judging Player Potential – Most useful when scouting younger players/newgens

Judging Player Ability – Most useful when scouting those player’s who aren’t younger players

Determination – How well a scout looks for players in his assignment. The higher the Determination, the more work your scout will do in trying to find players that fit his assignment.

Adaptability – There are 211 nations with FIFA affiliation. With the right database, you can download almost all of them. SI has further broken the world into 16 different regions, and Adaptability reflects how well a Scout can ‘learn’ a new nation, or nations within a region.

The last consideration for me is Age. I prefer to sign a younger scout, because their attributes can also improve over time.

With Palace and their desire to sign players under the age of 23, I am leaning towards younger scouts with a high Potential Ability, and good Adaptability. One of the things I do to help me when creating assignments is edit the scouts name via the nickname option, to add their Current PA, PP, and Country/Region they are knowledgeable in, like this:

Scouts as shown on the Staff screen

This is from the Assignment Screen, if you hover over the scouts name their full profile name including added information is displayed

This is from the scouting assignments screen, hovering over the name will display all the additional information as well.

With Palace, because I am looking to sign players under the age of 23 the majority of my scouts I am looking to hire will have high PA and Adaptability. This is because almost all of assignments are going to be by region, and the scout I assign to a region will be familiar with at least one of the countries in that region. The high adaptability means the scout should learn the other countries in the region faster. Younger scout’s also have the potential to increase their attributes as well. I am 18 months into my save, and several of my scouts have improved their PA and PP in that time. Usually what I do is when I resign a scout, I will update their nickname as well to reflect their increased attributes.

Early on in the game your selection of scouts may not be the best, so you are going to have to compromise. Probably the best example of this for me is this scout here:

At this stage in my save Franck Minvielle is one of the few scouts available in the Central African Region. That said, his PA and PP are adequate, and at 30 years old there is a good possibility the will improve. His Adaptability of 20 means he will learn other countries easier, but his low determination means he won’t be as aggressive about that learning as he could be. He’s on contract until 2026, by which time he will know most, if not all of the countries in Central Africa really well, and while he may not find a lot of players for me, the person I hire to replace him should be able too, using the knwledge base Franck helped build.

I currently have 14 scouts and a Chief Scout on hand, and at the beginning of each season I’ll request and increase in the number of scouts allowed. Sometimes it works, other times it won’t.

Most of my scouts are currently on Region scouting assignments, my Chief Scout is researching my next opponent because not only does he he have good PA and PP, he had a decent Tactical skill as well. Two scouts I have unassigned, they have good PA and PP, and are available to go look at those players who show up in the scouting report, or agent enquiries. Because we have a worldwide scouting package, I try and prioritize those regions that have a reputation for producing quality young players:

Central Europe – The Regional reorganization SI has done for FM22 means Central Europe isn’t the talent factory it is in previous versions of FM, but with Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland it is still very capable of producing talent.

South America (South) – Includes Brazil and Argentina, and even if you don’t find a wonderkid, you can still find very good players for very good prices.

UK & Ireland – Very good youth players can be found here, but you will pay a premium for them.

Western Europe – The Region reorganization SI has done for FM22 means France, Spain, and Portugal are now in this region, and all are capable of producing multiple wonderkids every year.

Eastern Europe – As with Western Europe, the reorganization means Serbia, Romania Hungary and Bulgaria are here, and worth a scout looking for youngsters.

If you have the availability, the two other regions I would scout for youth players are South Europe, which includes Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovinia, and my personal dark horse, Western Africa. Countries like Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Senegal have Youth Ratings from 80 to 120, and with the introduction of Dynamic Youth Ratings to this years version of FM, it’s quite probable their youth ratings will improve, producing talent that is not only has the potential to be very good, but is also available quite cheap. See Issahaku Abdul Fatawu and Clinton Opuku as players who if they aren’t breaking the wonderkid barrier in your save, are still going to be very good players. Fatawu went to Dnipro for 15K in my current Palace save…curse you Work Permit Requiremennts!!!

When you are at a smaller club, your options are going to be more limited, but you can still work within them to find some quality players. Your first restriction is going to be what level recruitment package you have. Depending on what level of competition you are coaching at, this will look different for some teams.

As an example, this is my Recruitment Package and availability at Palace:

This is what the Scouting packages available to Ebbsfleet in the Vanarama South are:

Ebbfsleet is limited to scouting UK & Ireland as their highest tier package at this point. Being in the Vanarama South they do not have the money to Scout Europe. .

So, the question is what level of scouting is appropriate for you? The answer, and it is ambiguous, is that it depends. What are you trying to do with your save? Just have fun? A Journeyman? A Road to Glory? A Youth only? And most importantly, what are your clubs finances? Taking all these into account should give you a good idea of what your backroom scouting staff should look like.

My guideline on this is that if you can afford it, try and scout one level higher than your current level, and if going even another level higher is affordable, do that.

These are the options available to Rad, a team in the Serbian First League, the 2nd Division of Serbia. Scouting their 3rd Tier Recruitment package is going to cost them a lot less than either Palace or Ebbsfleet would pay, and if they can afford to use that package, they should.

That said, scouting is also one of those places where you can save some money. A Chief Scout for next opponents, a scout to look at Agent offers and anything else that comes across, and maybe a Recruitment Analyst, a Performance Analyst, and your set. At Ebbsfleet You get a Scout and a Chief Scout, which will cost you about 2.5K a month in wages. Additionally, if needed you can allocate money from your transfer budget to your scouting budget, which can come in handy during the last month of a season and the transfer windows.

There are plenty of other tools out there you can use to help you find players, even when you have no scouting budget to speak of. It just takes some time, energy, and perhaps a mild case of Carpal Tunnel syndrome to set up. And we will go over that in the next post.

As always, any constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks for Reading!

FM_Jellico

Plans…

One of my favorite phrases of all time is “Custer had a plan too….”. Those of you who may need a little historical context, I suggest Wikipedia; but at the end of the day, it’s a very apt quote. I used it at work a couple of weeks ago and the VP of Ops laughed so hard he had to sit down and put his head between his legs, which may or may not reflect positively on my upcoming review.

FM 21 has been very interesting for me. My most successful project thus far is one I didn’t even put together at the end, I simulated 1000 years of Football with the Top Six leagues and Brazil Active. Took two computers and about four and a half months to process, you can watch the results of that video here:

There’s also a thread on Reddit about it. https://www.reddit.com/r/footballmanagergames/comments/mffdhb/six_countries_1000_years_in_the_future/

It was fun to do, and I’ll do it again next years as well.

Personal save wise, I was kind of all over the place. I had a personal save with Palace that was fun, and then did a personal journeyman save that was fun as well, starting in England, and ending up in Brazil via Poland and Germany. My primary Youtube save was with a club I had seen play in person when I lived there in the 80’s, 1FC Kaiserslautern. It was a fun save, we took them from the 3. Liga to the Bundesliga, and while we didn’t win everything, it was still a good time. I play that save offline from time to time, because I had scouted my tail off and had a great squad of potential, and I want to see if I could do better with them than the computer. Long story short, sort off.

My save for the second half of the FM21 year is proving to be pretty fun, it’s a Journeyman save, but I’ve limited it to the 25 countries I would consider to be “Eastern Europe on the other side of the Old Iron Curtain.” It’s been very fun so far, and challenging in a good way. But it also got me thinking about what I want to do in the future, especially with regards to Youtube.

I don’t have the biggest channel. There will always be bigger channels, and I am happy to be a contributor, and am quite happy that I have had positive, if slow, growth since I started creating. My goal with the channel was never to try and turn it into something I could make money off of, and while streaming does have it’s appeal, work and family life make that impracticable. I love my day job, and I make too much money to walk away from it to try and be a full time streamer. But I have been thinking about what I like doing within the FM community, and how to become better at it.

I think the two dedicated saves a year, with a projected schedule of uploads M-T-Th-F is a good fit for me. The Beta/Release save will be a signal club save, almost always a Lower League Club/Fallen Giant save, which will end somewheres around the New Years, and then the second save will be a Journeyman similar to this years in that it will be regional. I also like doing the occasional experiment with a twist.

That said, “Custer had a plan too…” in that I’ve already decided on my FM22 Beta save. It going to be with my favored team, the one I follow more than the others, Crystal Palace. Now, I’ve already done a Crystal Palace save for YouTube, the Palace March, for FM19.

There are a few reasons I am doing another Palace save for FM22.

  1. Roy Hodgson is retiring, and a new manager is taking over. Personally I’d love to see what Wilder could do there. And part of me would like to think I can do better. 🙂
  2. The team is going to look entirely different next season, as they have 17 players whose contracts are expiring on June 30th, and those who are still going to be on the roster are older (Milivojevich) or looking to move (Zaha).
  3. There isn’t much left to build around. Eze and Mitchell are both solid young players with promise, Mateta is on loan until 2022, but I think depending on the summer moves they may exercise their option to sign him from Mainz, and that’s pretty much it. Whomever the coach is next season is going to be hard pressed to keep them up, and that’s a challenge I like.

I’m also planning on going a bit more in depth with scouting and training, the spreadsheet may see new life in FM22. And then comes the Journeyman, South America, Asia, South America, I am not sure, but it will be fun.

So that’s the plan for now…let’s see if it comes to fruition.

8 Players to the Lower Leagues, an Experiment

Experiments are quite popular in FM, but in my opinion, to many of them are the same. What if we gave a Lower League Club a Billions Pounds, what if we put the worlds best youth player in the 8th Division of the English Football League, that sort of thing. I’ve even done a couple of those, but one of the thing’s I am interested in doing are Experiments with a little more behind them.

This experiment was directly influenced by a video Dr.Benjy did, in which he moved Erling Haaland to Bath and locked him into a 15 Year contract there. You can find the first video in that series here:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

I wanted to go a step further though, and make this a multiplayer experiment.

I put 8 younger players, who at one point in time were (or in the case of the youngest are) considered wonderkids, and moved them to teams in the Vanarama North and South. The goal was to see if any player could help get their squad to the Premier League before they retired or their contract ran out (more on that here in a few). It took some trial and error to get the experiment up and running, but eventually I had success in running the edited database.

Was the Experiment a success?

Yes. And No.

The Experiment ran a total of four videos, what follows is a breakdown of some of the issues I discussed in the video, and some of the issues I encountered as well. You can find the video series here:

First, the players and Teams I moved them too:

  • Kylian Mbappe, to Blyth Spartans in the Vanarama North
  • Erling Haaland, to Hemel Hempstead Town in the Vanarama South
  • Ansu Fati, to Dulwich Hamlet in the Vanarama South
  • Sebstiano Esposito, to Ebbsfleet United in the Vanarama South
  • João Félix, to Eastbourne Borough in the Vanarama South
  • Yusuf Demir, to Fylde in the Vanarama North
  • Rayan Cherki, to Chorley in the Vanarama North
  • Jadon Sancho, to Curzon Ashton in the Vanarama North

In the editor, I made sure none of the player CA/PA was on the low side, but I also made sure they weren’t maxed out either. I locked them into 18 year contracts, with future transfers to the MLS (where all older European players got to dominate). I loaded just the English Leagues this time around, with about a 28K size player database.

My logic in putting those players on those teams was simple: The better players I put on teams picked by the pundits to finish in the bottom half of their respective table. Both Blyth and Hemel Hempstead were relegation candidates. The younger players I put on teams that had recently been relegated, or had missed out on promotion the previous year. My train of thought was a player like Ansu Fati would not have to share the load right away, while Mbappe could (and would) put the team on his shoulders and carry them as far as he could.

I found the Experiment interesting for a variety of reasons. First, if you did not get promoted quickly, there was a possibility you could get stuck in a League for quite a while. Secondly, if the team did get promoted, would the AI be able to surround the Youngster with players able to help them stay up and get promoted. Thirdly, at some point in time the Youngster would start to decline, was the team he was on set up to avoid relegation?

My goal was to see if one or more players could get their team to the Premier League. I didn’t expect any of them too, honestly I don’t believe the AI is good enough to get as team promoted in 6 divisions in 18 year on a consistent basis, heck even us human players are hard pressed to do that sometimes.

My expectations were met. None of the teams managed to get to the Premier League, but a couple of them came close.

Click to embiggen

As one would expect, Kylian Mbappe had the best progression out of all the plyers, in fact I would consider his and Blyth’s movement up the Pyramid to be be the template going forward: Immediate promotion in the first year, 3 promotions in 9 years, and then when the player is at or just beyond their peak, competing in the Championship for a shot at the Premier League. Blyth’s best finish was 13th, but digging deeper I realized that was almost pure luck.

There were more than a few reason’s player’s like Cherki, Felix and Sancho never got out of non-league, and most of those were my fault. First, I did not check the teams professional status before assigning the players to them, and as a result, Cherki, Felix, Sancho, Mbappe and Haaland ended up on Semi-Professional squads. Compounding this issue were the player salaries, they were all locked into €1000 p/w contracts, with a yearly 5 or 10% raise. If this experiment had consisted of just one player, that would not be as big an issue, but with eight, you ran into a situation where a semi professional teram had to get promoted, and quickly, in order to get Professional status. This would let their payroll expand, and they would have the opportunity to sign better players, but I suspect (because I can’t prove it) that by the time some of the players, Felix Sancho and Cherki, were making more money than anyone else on the squad still, and as a result their teams did not have the wage bill to bring in players to help them. The best example of this is Jadon Sancho, in the last year of the save Curzon Ashton was relegated to the EvoStik, and he was making €4700 p/w…

Mbappe and Haaland are both good enough that they were able to get promoted, and quickly, but then that’s where the other behind the scenes issue arose, and that’s the AI’s inability to work a good transfer market and improve the squad. The best example of this is Mbappe of course. From 2029 to 2035 Blyth were in the Championship. This is their Transfer Spending in that timeframe:

YearInOut
2029/30€1M (and 3 players on loan at €315K)€46K
2030/31€2.3M€875K
2031/32€2.6M€475K
2032/33€6.25M€72K
2033/34€625K€2.2M
2034/35€2.8M€475K
Blyth Transfer Spending while in the EFL Championship

By Comparison, Reading was also in the Championship at the same time, and both teams finished within shouting distance of each other more often than not, and their Transfer spends were 18.75M/28M, 7.25M/26M, 20.5M/33M, 15M/5.5M, 14.5M/35M in the same time frame.

The clubs that did get promoted did improve their facilities, as an example Blyth ended up with Great Yout and Training facilities, but I also wonder if the quality of coaching, especially for those players who did not get promoted right away, also played a factor in their development.

This is Rayan Cherki’s Progression thru the midpoint of the save:

Rayan Cherki 2020
Rayan Chekri 2023
Rayan Cherki 2029

He did pick up some more traits, and became comfortable at a few more positions, and in fact actually came down a point in a couple of attributes. A lack of full time training perhaps?

That said, even if their attributes didn’t improve, they were more than good enough to be their clubs primary scoring threat for much of the save. What follows are a few tables to illustrate that:

Players Goals by Year and Division
Players Assists by Year and Division
Another View of Player Goals and League

There’s still a lot more to do in terms of player charting and the like, but for the moment, here are my takeaways from this experiment:

It was pretty fun to run. The data from this comes from my third attempt at running it, the first was marred by a series of PBKAC errors on my end, the second by some behind the scenes stuff I didn’t realize could happen, IE Hard Brexit, and as a result Esposito and Cherki didn’t qualify for a work permit due to lack of International Experience, and spent the last twelve years locked into a team they could not play for nor get released from. Mbappe getting a team close I sort of expected, but I was also hoping a younger player like Esposito would do well in that regard. And I learned a lot from it, especially what to do if I want to run this experiment again later, which I might. If I do, I probably won’t have Mbappe or Holland on it, but younger players like Boadu, Zirkzee and others. I would start them at a lower salary, and if I could, ensure they all start on Professional squads.

If you’ve made it this far, Thanks! Any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will answer them as best I can. If you have an idea for an experiment, let me know as well, am always interested in seeing what other creators come up with that’s different than the usual out there.

Link To Spreadsheet

Hi everyone. The video on my YouTube channel has just over 1.5k views, which for a small channel is a decent accomplishment, but after a couple of recent emails, I realized that I had not linked to the ‘blank’ spreadsheet on my site, so here it is:

https://www.mediafire.com/file/x9oa5yb8xcu4aeb/Spreadsheet.rar/file

Now, as you may or may not know, I use LibreOffice Calc as my primary document creation, and this file is in .odt format. However, all the formulas use the Excel format, so you should be able to open this file in Excel, save it as an .xls or .xlsx file without issue.

If there are any problems please let me know.

Thanks!

Plans for the Future?

I have many plans for the future.

Although as I am fond of saying:  “Custer had a plan, too.”

FM20 brought about some very nice changes to those of us who are spreadsheet fanatics.  From my point of view, the changes they have made to player status’, and contracts, and not to mention the fact you now have some more control over coaches salaries and the like is very cool.

The fact we cannot export to .csv is still very, very annoying.  I will be the first to admit when it comes to programming I am not the person you want to go to for that sort of thing.  But it’s 2020 SI, how hard could it be to add that functionality?  That’s an honest question.

When FM20 was released, I didn’t have a lot of spare time.  I had a small personal playthru with Palace to try and familiarize myself with the new changes, then started a Beta save with AC Milan, which you can watch here. However, this was a particularly bad time of year for me time wise.  Work was busy (Yay!), but the family life was a bit hectic, and then then November and December got terribly busy as other, more important personal project took over most of my time.  Forza Milan! was three episodes a week, MWF, at least I tried for three episodes a week.

Then my laptop started having issues.  It’s a very nice laptop, an Alienware 17 that’s been very good to me since I bought it.  But it started, glitching, for lack of a better term. Had it cleaned out, replaced a couple of parts, and nothing seemed to make it better, but at the same time it didn’t get worse.  I like laptops, because of the nature of my work I spend the majority of my time on one, but upgrading them is a pain, and after talking with Household Six, I figured if I am going to invest in a new system, I’m going to get a tower, and one I can upgrade in the future should I want to.

So, after doing some research, I built a system over at MAINGEAR, and said this is what I’m looking at doing.  And a couple of hours later I received a reply that said essentially “You case is to big for what you have selected, and if you downgrade to this one you save some money, and your machine will be more efficient.”  To which I said “I am totally spending a goodly amount of money with you now, here’s what I want, can I get it by Christmas?”

And they said “Maybe?  We’ll try, but were super busy.”  So, on December 21st, the new Mistress, as Household Six calls it, arrived.

For those geeks out there reading, here’s what I have now:

Chassis: MAINGEAR VYBE Mk. V – Matte Black
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero w/ WIFI – ATX
Processor: AMD RYZEN 9 3950X 16-Core 3.5GHz (4.7GHz Boost)
Processor Cooling: [Closed Loop Liquid Cooling] MAINGEAR Epic 240
MAINGEAR Redline Processor Overclocking: AMD Turbo Boost Advanced Automatic Overclocking
Memory: 32GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4 3200MHz (2x16GB)
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB GDDR6
Power Supply: EVGA 750W SuperNOVA B2 80+ BRONZE

FM looks great on it.  All of my games look and run great on it.  Jellico is a very, happy gamer.  Not a better gamer, but happier.

Over the Christmas break I did a little recording, and this past weekend I’ve been editing what I recorded.  It took a 36 long minute video in Resolve and compiled it to 1920x1080HD in MP4 format in 8 minutes.  Now, this was sort of the 21st Century I was promised.

But, Forza Milan! was intended to be a short term save.  I’ve finished the 2nd season, and am about a third of the way thru season three, and then that’s it.

So, the question then is:  What next?

I had plans of doing a single club save, another road to Glory, but I’ve done that three years in a row now.  It’s fun, but part of me wants to do something like an Eastern European only journeyman save.  The pronunciation errors alone could be worth it.

I am looking at doing something like a Skins review, because I can never use just one, and it’s not something I’ve seen on Youtube.  Of course, my search-fu could be weak there.

Anyhow, plans for 2020.  Go back to five uploads a week.  Skins review, new save.  I’m writing these with Jell-o on a hot Phoenix sidewalk, so what could possibly go wrong?  🙂

Thanks for the feedback on previous posts, and I will say, no mo matter what save I do, I’ll probably still be tinkering around with the spreadsheets.

As soon as I get everything transferred over to the new system.  Good thing I have a ten year old to help me with that…

 

 

 

Of Wages and Scheduling

When your taking a snapshot of the teams attributes every 3-4 months, and then the year to year comparisons, the number of tabs starts to add up.  I think I am up to about 25, and while that’s still not anywhere close to the “Cry for help!” stage, it’s starting to be a concern…

Many of the pages continue to evolve, mostly due to suggestions from others.  One very good suggestion comes from Ponzie on the Football Manager Slack channel, who asked if it wouldn’t be possible to get a table layout of a player progression, and then see how their attributes have improved over time.  And with a little help from Google and Stack Exchange, it turns out there is.

For tracking a players improvement in another manner

This is essentially the player attributes copied multiple times, with a column for the Tab being referenced.  Now, I will be the first to admit I have no idea what exactly the formats used in the conditional formatting mean exactly, but here is what they are:

INDIRECT(ADDRESS(ROW(), COLUMN ()))>INDIRECT(ADDRESS(ROW()-1, COLUMN()))

This first formula gives a Green colored cell background if the condition is met.

INDIRECT(ADDRESS(ROW(), COLUMN ()))<INDIRECT(ADDRESS(ROW()-1, COLUMN()))

This formula gives a Red colored cell background if the condition is met.

Now, the VLOOKUPS used to populate the attributes are also there, what these two new formulas do is compare the numbers in each column to the number above it.  If the number being compared is greater than the number above, it will turn Green.  If it’s lower than the number above, it will turn red.  No change, and the cell doesn’t change color.

I created a player named “Test Player” on a couple of the previously built roster tabs.  Here is what the results should look like when you get things typed in correctly:

Lots of pretty colors…

You’ll notice the number of color changes as the attributes improve or get worse.  How does this look on a ‘real’ player?  Well, lets take a look at one of the better youth players I have on my squad, Jean-Marc Parent.  He’s been at Bastia since the beginning, and has turned into one of our best Midfielders.

Definitely has improved

Now, the row in Green across the top wit the white numbers is the total of ho much each category has improved.  Some, like Strength, have improved quite a bit.  Others, like heading, not so much.  I use this to help me decide on training.  In three years, his heading has improved by 1.  That’s not so great, and leads me to believe that yes, while his Heading may improve over time, chances are slim it actually will, and the time spent practicing heading is probably better spent on First Touch, or Dribbling.

The nice thing about this section of the spreadsheet is that once the initial array in the formula is completed, you can insert as many lines as you would like, and the array will adjust to the new lines.  I currently just have lines for most of the tabs I’ve already created, but as I continue on with the save, I can easily add more.

Now, these next couple of tabs I use could possibly be done a quicker, better way.  I am open to suggestions on that, but for the moment, they take up the majority of the ‘behind the scenes’ work to get done.

First up:  Wages.

Now, the issue with this is the export from Football Manager.  The format it uses, neither Excel or Calc really like, so you have to do some editing to make this:

Look like this:

I don’t want to get into all the nitty gritty behind the scenes stuff you have to do, but I will say that after the first couple of time you do the copy/paste, editing, and formatting, it goes by a lot quicker.

You’ll notice I’ve distilled the exported view down into the necessary columns for this, Player Name, their Wage, Contract Type, Contract End Date, and Value.

Next to that is another couple of columns, and using the formula:

=COUNTIF($D$4:$D$67, “=???”) where ??? equals Contract type in Column J, it counts the number of Key Player, First Team, and so on contracts I have on the squad at the time this view was exported.  Column H totals up each players salary depending on contract type, with the formula:

=SUMIF($D$4:$D$99,”=???”,$C$4:$C$99) again where ??? equals Contract type in Column J

I also have a couple of checks on the total number of players, the first ’61’ counts the number of players in column B, the second 61 sums the total of column J, and for fun I also add in the total value of my players at the moment.  Yes, at the moment this total is very, very sad.

This tab then in turn feeds data to the Wage Distribution tab, which look like this:

It’s all nice and neat, of course it has to work…

The key number to look for here, and you know it’s key because it’s buried about halfway down, is the Wage Budget.  This is the Budget the board set for me last season, 39,005.  Now, the following is as best, a guesstimate with a dash of hunch and a smattering of “What could possibly go wrong here?”  My assumption is that this year, my players salaries will account for 75% of my wage budget, meaning 25% of the wage budget is going to the coaches, scouts, physios and whatnot.  I would think as you move up the leagues structure of whatever country you are in, and you get more Non Players as part of the club, this number could change some.  I know when I started out in the National 3, I set it at 10%, because other than myself, a Chief Scout, and a Physio, we really didn’t have much else.

As you can see though, assuming 75% of our wage budget goes towards players salaries, we have a Wage Cap of €29,254.

The top part of this references data from the Players tab, with the Contract Type and number of contracts populated.  You’ll notice over in column P and Q what I think a 22 man roster “should” look like, Column D is what I had at the time.  I do not count Youth Contracts or hot Prospects as part of this.  the ‘% of Wage’ Column is again, a guess.  And then the number in Column F is what my max wage ‘should’ be, in this case three players on Key Contracts should be earning 20% of our entire wage budget, or €5,851.

I have 9 players earning €13,200….but I make up for that deficit by not having any Rotation contracts, and when all is said and done, you can see I am ‘ONLY’ €46 over my Wage Cap.

I find this useful especially when it comes to squad dynamics and playing time issues.  If I have two (or more…) players on Key Contracts in the same position, you know the one that gets the least amount of playing time is going to complain about it sooner or later.  Or, come the January transfer window, move some of the Key Players who aren’t playing so much out, and bring their replacements in on Squad Rotation contracts.

Last up for this post, the schedule.  And I will admit, this takes a decent amount of behind the scenes work to get ready, and even then I still can’t make it do what I want it to do…yet.

First, here’s what it looks like in all it’s glory:

It looks nice, but getting there can be a grind the first time

This was Bastia’s schedule in the 2021-2022 season.  The video goes into a little more detail, and shows some of the changes when you switch a value, but for the moment, we’re going to start at Column N.

This is the teams in Ligue 2 at the beginning of the season.

Column O shows how they came to be in Ligue 2, and if applicable, where they finished the previous season.

Column P is the pundits prediction on where the teams would finish.

Column O is where they actually finished.

Columns R and S are the points Bastia earned Home and away at each opponent.

Column T is opponent strength, from 0 to 3.  The teams in red get 3’s, blue gets a 2, Yellows 1, Greens 0.  This represents how hard/easy I think it will be to beat them.

Starting in column A is the schedule, which I exported from FM with just the Ligue 2 fixtures on it.

Column J is the Strength of Schedule, change that number, and I have a conditional format that changes the background of the team cell.

Column D is the game result, type in W, L or D and Column E Populates.

Column F is your running points total, and if more than the number in Column G, your running points total will be GREEN, if less it will be RED, like so:

If your in the red at the end of the season…

How did I arrive at Column G, Points needed?  I went back and looked at the last 10 years of teams in Ligue 2, and found that you needed, on average, 43 points to avoid relegation.  Add 1 to that you get 44 points.  Divide 44 by 38 games played, you get 1.1578947…well, 1.16.

So, every game I played I needed 1.16 points to avoid relegation.

Column H counts the number of days between matches, but this isn;t the most useful at the moment, because this is just the basic Ligue 2 schedule.  It does not include any Coupe de la Ligue, Coupe de France, or European Fixtures, because adding them in at the moment breaks some of the conditional formatting, and running points total.  It’s something I am working on, but I will admit, I’m not working to hard on solving it at the moment.

Column I is Match Week number (Handy for when your sorting, and yes I learned this the hard way).  Column J is the teams Strength of Schedule number, and the I break the league down into quarters, two of 9 games and two of 10 games.

What these tell me, and what the teams colors tell me, is what sort of battles I have coming up in the future, and how can I prepare for them better.  You’ll see in the 1st Quarter of games I played five pretty good teams, but I want to highlight weeks 8, 9 and 10, when I played Troyes, Reims and Rodez Aveyron.

Troy and Reims are both quality teams, and I am playing them 4 days apart.  4 days after playing Reims, I am playing Rodez Aveyron, who are not that strong.  Should I start my ‘A’ side against both Troy and Reims, and knowing they’ll be shattered from a condition point of view trust the Rodez game to my backups?  What if this wasn’t the first quarter of the season, but the last, and I’m in a relegation battle?  Whats sequence of games can I rest my started a little more, and play a more rotated side?

Now, the one downfall to this time at the moment I alluded to earlier:  It doesn’t include non domestic league fixtures.  IF/when I do get that figured out, it’s another tool to use in determine what the future looks like, and how to plan accordingly.

I can look at this all day long:

But for me, there’s not a lot of useful information there beyond the basics.  And being a pretty visual person, doing what I do to the Schedule helps me plan more.

The video accompanying this post can be found at:  https://youtu.be/K-cUmrMTxzk

It shows some of the changes that happen when you change some of the values, and does go into a little more detail on the schedule side of things.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them down below, or I can also be found at @FM_Jellico on Twitter.  I also frequent the Football Manager Slack channels, and can also be found on the AbsoluteFM Discord server (amongst other Football Manager related Discords 🙂 )

And thats Part 2 of this series.  Next up, in a couple of weeks, my Lineup Tab, also known as “How much Data can you have on one tab Jellico?  JFC….”

Thanks for reading!

It’s finally in video format

Apologies on this taking so long, real life and the like has gotten in the way again (and you’d think it would be more considerate really), but part one of the video series accompanying the posts here will be going live tomorrow, that’s Monday the 11th of March, 2019, on my YouTube Channel at 7AM GST.

It will be covering the Squad Comparison and Attribute Analysis section of the spreadsheet.  Further episodes will cover the Budgetary/Wage Analysis section, the schedule section, and then I do have a bit of a ramble at the end about what I’d like to add in the future as well.

The plan is try and upload a video on this every week.   After the first video goes live I will have a link to a blank web sheet with three tabs on it, two for roster attribute comparison, and one for attribute analysis, probably hosted on MediaFire, the link will be in the description of the video.

Any feedback on the videos and spreadsheet is welcomed, you can request features to be added, and I’ll see what I can do as well, but no promises there.   Leave those down below, or hit me up on Twitter, the Football Manager Slack, or the couple of FM Discords I also hang out on from time to time.

Thanks for reading!

FM_Jellico

The Beginning, just a couple of tabs, I swear…

I’ll be the first to admit, I am not the most knowledgeable soccer/football fan. I played it as a kid, followed it, although not too closely, when I lived in Europe in the 80’s, and while I know of the Premier League, Bundesliga and the like, until about 2017, my knowledge of world football was, at best, a PowerPoint slide or two deep. As an American, soccer/football just wasn’t something I followed too closely.

I am a gamer though. Board, miniatures, computer, pen and paper, dice, that was (and still is) a hobby of mine. There’s a Youtuber I follow named Quill18, who does a lot of “Let’s Plays” for various games I also play, and one day his followers challenged him to play FM17. And he did. And I sat there the whole time watching him play with a quizzical look of “What the hell is this and where has it been my life?” I know Madden, I like Madden and other sports games (Heck I was a Tecmo Bowl League my sophomore year of college, and yes, that makes me old), never played FIFA (because, well, Soccer…), but Football Manager was more than either of them. So, so much more.

So I bought it, and started to learn it. And two and a half years later, a couple of thousand watched videos on YouTube, and countless hours of streams by other content creators, it has become the game I play most. Like many games, it’s very customizable in the detail level you want, how much control you’d like. For most FM17, and most of FM18, I was a hands off coach. Tactics, some scouting, and press conferences, that was it.  I spent a decent amount of time following up the scouts recommendations, but I never too full control of the club I was running.

That’s changed with FM19. After my initial Beta Test save (with Crystal Palace), I knew what save I wanted to do, and I also knew I wanted to exercise more control over, well, everything.  But I needed some help to get that done.

In my day job, I’m a Geographer/GIS Analyst. I take data and represent it visually. Lot’s, and lots of data, and shapes, and details. I do also get to make some cools maps (Aswijan for example), but really, 75% to 90% of my job is manipulating data and making it not only understandable to the end user, but accurate as well. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes, and the end user will only see the last 10% or so of your efforts, but it’s the other 90% that makes things go.

On top of this, I am what I like to refer to as a “Least Amount of Effort” type of person. While that sounds bad, in actuality what it means is that if given a task, I’m not going to take any shortcuts to finish it, and I’m not going to add any chrome to it to make it flashier. If a job requires ten steps to get done, I’m going to do it ten steps.  Not six, not fifteen, but ten.

I’ve been on projects with those sorts of people who do both. I’m not a fan.

I work with a lot of tables, and spreadsheets, and I like to be my job as easy as possible, so I will manipulate them to try and make my life easier. When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t, well, thank god for CTRL-Z.

Early on, one of the things I wanted to do in FM17 with my first main save, was track how my players attributes improved. One of the things Football Manager is good at is the data it creates for, well, most everything. One of the things it’s not so great at is representing that data usefully.  While that is a criticism, I understand why SI have done the things they have done when it comes to data and how they present it. But they do make it easy to export a lot of data, and with a little application of application, there are some things a manager can do to make his job a little easier. And that what I set out to do.

This is Sophiane Bouris Belle. He’s my very good youth striker in my current save with SC Bastia:

Belle

There’s a lot of data here, and a lot of it is quite useable. Attributed wise, I can tell by the little green arrows next to most of them that he is improving in all those areas. How much? Well, that’s where I run into some issues.

Clicking on Development→Attribute Changes gives you this screen:

BelleBar

Not a bad way to display this IMO, but there could be better ways.

And it’s not bad, just incomplete, at least for what I want to do. Especially when you consider that if you turn on all the Attributes you get this:

BelleBarFull

To much data on one screen makes it unusable.

On some players, if you relax one eye you can see the sailboat…

But there’s better way of seeing these changes, at least for me.

First, you have to create a Squad View of all the Attributes. And make sure the column order of this view is the same order as the player attributes. And do not mess with the columns after creating this view, or you will make a mistake. Yes, that’s from experience. You can add other items of info you want to the end, I find that makes it easier, but YMMV.

Attributes

I Can’t stress this enough, don’t move these columns after you export the first time…

Now, open your spreadsheet program. I use Calc by Libreoffice, but I have it set up to use Excel formulas, so what follows should work without a problem on Excel.

Now, go back into Football Manager, and under the FM button, scroll down to ‘Print Screen’ and Print as a Web Page, Select the folder you want to save it to, rename the file, to whatever you want, and click ‘Save’.

Helpful hint, if you have a set folder where you want all this data to go to, the next time you get to this screen, hit the ‘Recent’ drop down on the right, and a list of folders you’ve recently used, including the one your exported data is going into, should pop up.

Export

A handy shortcut

Navigate to that folder, click the file, and it will open in your browser.

HtmlExample

Basic HTML output.

Select the data you want, copy it, go to your blank spreadsheet, select the cell you want the data to start in, and then this is very, very important:

Right Click, select Paste Special, and then select ‘Unformatted Text’

UnformattedText

Very, very important!

This is very important, if you do not do this some formulas and calculations will not work!

This has to do with how Excel/Calc ‘see’s’ and interprets whats in the cell.  Sometimes it sees ‘12345’ as a number, sometimes it sees it as text.  Sometimes it will not ‘see’ text in a cell as part of a calculation, this is due to the cells format.  Pasting everything in as ‘Unformatted Text’ should default most text to text, and numbers to numbers.  There may be cases where you will have to go into the spreadsheet and set a cells format, but most of those occur later.

When you paste, you’ll get this:

Roster

And you can format this however you want. You will also want to rename the tab. I rename it whatever month I took the Attribute Screen Shot.

Tab

The next time you export an Attribute Screen Shot, create a second tab, cut and past the data the same way, and rename the tab.

NOTE: Your Attribute Screenshot does not have to have the names in the same order each time you take it. I promise.

Now comes the cool stuff: Conditional Formatting.

A conditional format is a rule you set up for data on the page, and that rule says that if a cell, or group of cells, is equal to the condition you set, whatever change you want to apply to that data will be applied.

Changes can range from font changes, to color changes, to both. You can have multiple conditional formats on a page, but you have to be careful how you apply them, as there is a priority/hierarchy to how they are applied.

Create a conditional format, set the condition to Formula Is and enter in the following formula:

C3<(VLOOKUP($A3,TAB!$A$2:$AL$99,COLUMN(),0)-1)

What I set for the style is to change the cell color to Red.

Now, an explanation of this formula, and what yoy may have to change to get it to work on your spreadsheet:

C3 is the first cell you want the formula to start looking at.  Don’t use C2 if it’s your first line of data, the formula doesn’t like it.  I’m not sure why.

A3 is the cell your Players Name is in.

TAB! is the name of the tab you want searched.

A$2:$AL$99 is the range of data being searched on the tab.  This also means it will search all the data and names, including the first row.

So what this formula is saying is this:

Look at Cell C3. Compare it Value to the Value of the Cell where the name of the player in A3 of whatever tab your referencing; if that name isn’t in A3 search for it A2 to AL99, and once found, compare the numbers in the columns between the two tabs. If the number in tab2 is less than the number in tab1 by -2 (or more), turn the cell red.  Clear as mud, right?  I’m not sure how I could explain it better, any suggestions would be great!

The next formula should be:

C3>(VLOOKUP($A3,TAB!$A$2:$AL$99,COLUMN(),0)+1)

I set this to turn the cell dark green. This is looking for Values that are +2 or more that have changed between tabs.

Next formula is:

C3<(VLOOKUP($A3,TAB!$A$2:$AL$99,COLUMN(),0))

This is looking for Values that are -1 from Tab2 to Tab1, I set this to change the background to Yellow.

The last formula is

C3>(VLOOKUP($A3,TAB!$A$2:$AL$99,COLUMN(),0))

This is looking for Values that are +1 from Tab2 to Tab1, I set this to change the background to a lighter Green.

These formulas have to be entered in this order, when you arrange them in the condition box it has to read +2, -2, +1, -1.

This is because Excel and Calc are very hierarchy oriented, so if you have the -1 rule at the top, when the formatting formula is looking, it will see 8 is at least 1 less than 10, and turn it yellow, and because a condition has already been applied, it will not turn it read when it goes to apply the -2 change.

Once you have the formulas entered, hit ok/apply, they should take effect, and this:

Before

I turn the background grey to cut down on glare.  If you see my YT vids you know why.

Should turn into something like this:

After

Now how much easier is this to read?

When you need additional tabs, what I do is right click on an already filled out tab with the conditional formatting applied, copy it with a new name to the spreadsheet, then delete the names and data on the page. That way the formatting stays behind. The only thing you have to do now is go into the conditional formatting formulas and change the tab you want referenced.

One last note, which I mentioned before:

DO NOT MOVE ANY COLUMNS AROUND BETWEEN SCREEN SHOTS!

The formula used does not look at the column headers, but the Player Name, and once it finds the match, it will start comparing the values of the columns associated with that name from left to right. If you move the columns around between screenshots and apply the formula, you will get some strange results.  I once couldn’t figure out how all on my players Physicals dropped -2, then found out I had deleted a column…

And that’s also the very cool thing about this formula, it looks at the name before it starts comparing. No matter where it is in the name column, if in your tab2 it finds the name in tab1, it will compare the numbers and apply the formatting.

As proof of this, the above is taken with the names in Ascending order.

This is a screenshot of the same tab with the names I descending order:

descend

You’ll notice the formatting has moved with the player.

🙂

I’ve found this very useful for tracking not only my players growth every three or so months, but it’s also coming in quite handy as a training session aid as well. If my players are improving quite a bit in say their technical skills, but not their physical skills, I know I should start emphasizing more physically oriented training sessions. Likewise, it will show my youth players development, and when my older players start declining. This is a screenshot of my squad, comparing their progress from June of 2018 to June of 2019.

June18toJune19

That’s a lot of green….

Everybody above the red line is a youth player.

The stats circled in blue are the physicals of my players aged 31 and older.

A little bit easier to interpret than a bar graph, right?

And that’s going to be it for Part 1 of this series. I don’t know how long it’s going to be to be honest, but I do know the next couple of parts are going to be the Attribute Analysis comparison graph, the Wage Budget Calculator I use, and the Schedule Tab, and all the things you can do with it.

A big thanks to the people over at the MrExcel forums (MrExcel.com) for help with a lot of the formulas used in this project.

Thanks for reading, and if there’s something you’d like to see please let me know.

FM_Jellico

Find me @FM_Jellico on Twitter!