My Dentist is going to be able to send his kid to college after all…

I knew one of my current saves was going to be more of a challenge. A relegated club, not the strongest financially, competing in a very good league, with several bigger clubs ahead of it. I like those types of saves, there’s something to be said about bringing one (or more) of the teams that have dominated the league for so long back down to earth.

And then inside the game, you have new challenges to overcome as well.

However, this version of FM, I have been surprised by the one area I was not expecting to be surprised by, which has caused me to work harder in this save than any other save I have done.

And that area is the Loan Market of Transfer Window.

Now, before I continue let me say first and foremost, the mechanics of the loan market/transfer window are not broken. What is broken though, is the economics of it.

Like all markets, the transfer window consists of buyers and sellers. A Sellers market is when a club has a player (say…Endrick) whom everyone wants, and they can drive up the price, and get the most bang for their Buck/Euro/Pound. A Buyers market is one in which Team Meh puts Joe Average out there for loan, and noone wants him until the last day of the window, and the only offer a team gets is the best offer, so if the club wants Joe Average to go out on loan, that’s the offer they are going to take. Right?

Transfers in FM23 make no economic sense to me. Young players on good teams are listed for loan, and then the team wants 175K a month when they play, 350K a month when they don’t play, 100% of their salary covered, and Oh Yeah, here’s a 33.5 million optional future transfer fee and 750K for when you when your Nations Cup tournament. And it seems like it is like that for 95% of the players you look at out there.

Now, I will admit, Santa Clara’s financial situation is not the best. While our finances are secure, we don’t make a lot of money. My budget surplus is about 1.9 million Euro’s, my yearly expenditures thus far have been covered by competition and TV monies. But I only get 10% of the transfers and my payroll is the lowest in the Primeira. My scouting is Portugal only, and I have turned down creating a B squad and a competition U19 squad because I cannot afford the staffing for it. Its a challenge, one I look forward to overcoming.

That in mind, a lot of my loan attempts are going to be looking for player’s who’s clubs are not going to want outrageous salary demands, or high monthly payments, preferably no monthly payments. But it seems any young player loan listed by a team who’s in the top two divisions of their country has the starting point of the negotiations somewhere near Oberon.

For the astronomically challenged, that is one of the moons of Uranus.

Now admit it, you giggled a little-+ there….

Now, there is a point of view put forward that says loans made by a club take into account the requesting teams finances. To which I say that is a Blivet, if not Two Blivets worth of Bad Information not grounded in objective fact.

Case in point:

Meet Giorgi Abuashvili, AKA the less capable Georgian Khvarradonna.

At Santa Clara, he would be very good, amongst the best players at the club. My Scout and my coaches say he’s 4 star current, 4 star potential player. His versatility makes him even more useful to me, and his wage is within my range as well. If Porto want me to cover 100% of his wage, I can. Last season he was on loan, at Le Havre:

I would expect to pay more than that, seeing as how he’s still young, played very well, and Porto is looking to get him playing time.

So I made an Inquiry, and about fell out of my chair when Porto’s starting offer came back:

What in the wide wide world of sports is going on here? This offer is 120,000% more than what he went out on loan for last year. That is not a typo. And I am sorry, while 3 goals, 6 assists and a POM in 31 games is pretty good, it’s not in the range to drive his asking price up that much. IMO of course, feel free to disagree and tell me why.

“But Jellico, you can negotiate them down,” I hear some of you say.

No. No you can’t. I tried, multiple times. With multiple players, over the course of six hours. I was grinding my teeth so much Household Six offered to go get me the mouthpiece my son wears when playing soccer. At one point she thought I broke a tooth because I hit the keyboard in frustration, but that was when another player at another clubs offer was 97K a month starting fee. For a 29 year old winger who hadn’t played more than 4 games a season the past four seasons.

So I played the waiting game, and the last day of the transfer window, went back to Porto to see if they would come down on their offer. This is what they said with 16 hours left in the window:

The €600 was the most the club would let me pay. But Porto still wanted 20K a month for him. And as far as I could tell, there were no other clubs interested in loaning him, in fact he stayed at Porto, and is playing for the B Squad. They musty not have been that interested in loaning him out…

I don’t know, maybe the transfer window has always been like this, and I just never noticed it.

I will say one thing though, I am positive the bidding club doesn’t give a tinkers dam about your finances when you make a loan offer.

Case in point, this is Giorgi from my other save, at Saint Etienne, and at that club my finances are in way better shape, much more so than at Santa Clara.

I haven’t fully scouted him, but I think it’s safe to say he’s close to the same player in my ASSE save as he is my Santa Clara save.

And yet the offers are pretty similar…

Look, I get economics is the art of explaining to tomorrows crowd why the predictions made yesterday didn’t come true today, but what’s happening in the FM23 transfer market with regards to loans is just…weird.

What am I missing here? Other than a peaceful night of sleep because my jaw is sore…

Derrubando Os Três Grandes: Santa Clara, an FM 23 Story, Part 2

The 1st Season: Fighting, Clawing, Scraping.

So, we have a mic of screenshots here, the dark ones are from the Statman skin, the light ones from the Mustermann skin, both available on the SI forums. They are both brilliant IMO, and well worth a look!

The season did not get off to a good start. Luckily everyone’s expectations were low enough that it didn’t really matter, but as a coach, it was frustrating.

With the world cup being played, there was going to be a decent winter break, and I for one was thankful, because of the first 20 games we played, we won 6, drew 6, and lost 8, which at first glance seems respectable, but when three of the wins come in cup competitions against lesser opponents, it really does open your eyes a little (OK, maybe a lot) as to how poorly we were doing.

There were some “Expected Losses”, losing 3-1 to Sporting was one of them. Losing to Porto as well, despite the fact they were up 2-0 after 17 minutes, Fabio Cardoso getting sent off and a straight red in 25th minute gave me a glimmer a hope that being a man up, we could do something. Instead Eustachio scored in the 35th minute, and they defended really well the rest of the match. Draws against Arouca and Casa Pia, who were both bottom of the table at that point, were frustrating, as was losing to Boavista in the League Cup Quarter final, only to turn around six days later and beat them 4 -0 had me reaching for the scotch.


But we had a process, and I wanted to stick to it, and so after we beat Boavista 4-0, I went back and looked at the Fall games, and other than the 3-1 losses to Porto and Sporting, the only other multi goal loss we had was against Portimonense, and that was 2-0. Against Maritomo we were a man down after the 27th minute, and it took a PK for them to score. Arouca clawed the draw back in the 82nd minute, Casa Pia on a PK in the 85th, we drew with Benfica after scoring in the 67th minute, Braga beat us in the 88th minute, Rio Ave fell apart the second half but we fell short a goal. The more I looked at it, the more I realized we weren’t really getting outplayed, we just weren’t making the most of our chances, and I was hoping the 4-0 against Boavista was a sign of things to come. The other part of me said I was being delusional, but that voice in my head wasn’t invited in and was kicked out short order. Trust in the process, I kept reminding myself. The Process being: Hang on for dear life and don’t get relegated.

So we went into the January transfer window, maybe not with optimism, but cautious optimism. To be honest I suspect most of the backroom staff were trying to figure out how Uruguay, who beat Brazil 1-0 in the 2nd Round, Spain 1-0 in the Quarters, and Argentina on Penalties in the Semi’s, beat France 2-1 in the Finals.

And South Korea beat Argentina to take 3rd place. Somewhere Messi weeps…

Those of us who figured that out were spending out time trying to figure out how South Korea beat Argentina 2-0 to take 3rd Place. We helped our finances by selling Andrezinho to Valerenga for 100K, and Tassano to Legia for 250K before January. Victor Bobsin left for Empoli and a 1.6M Euro deal, Allano went to Cuiba for 525K, Rildo went to Goias for the same amount in February, Ricardo Fernandes went to Fakel for 42K in April, and Adriano went to Nice for 750K in the summer transfer window. The only real loss was Bobsin, the others were older players who while decent, were not irreplaceable. That said, when I did when to strengthen the squad, I couldn’t bring anyone in, because I didn’t wages to pay for those players who were even considering it, and don’;’t even get me started on loans this version of FM, they are all the way befuckled IMO.

So we hunkered down, trained as best we could, and tried to get the new year off to a good start.

I couldn’t have asked for a better beginning to 2023.

A 4-0 win at Estoril, beating Gil Vicente 2-0 at home, beating Chaves 2-1, beating Vizela 1-0, getting our revenge against MRT by beating them 2-1, when January ended we were 5-0, with 11 goals for and 2 against, and climbing the table

Starting 2023 of on the right foot

Well earned draws against Famalicao and Sporting were very nice, but then Vitoria thumped us 3-0, and a back and forth 5-3 at Porto closed out February.

March was quiet, as we beat Arouca and Pacos de Ferreira, and then April was…frenetic. Our youth intake was pretty solid all things considered, with Michael Santos and Gervasio Cymbron both 4 ½ star potential candidates. Players who’s contracts were expiring were still wanting too much money, and I was pulling out what was left of my hair over some of the negotiations. Games wise, beating Casa Pia was expected, as they were bottom of the table, but only by one goal was disconcerting. Portimonense held us off in a 2-1 loss, we beat Rio Ave 2-0, and Benfica beat us easily 3-1. However, a week later, we beat Braga 1-0, and with 4 games left, we were in 6th place, fighting for European football.

The Two best Youth Intake Prospects, and climbing our way above mid table

Then we crapped the bed. Boavista, who were in a relegation battle, shut us out 3-0. We beat Estoril, 2-1, ensuring their relegation battle with Boavista would continue, but a Victor Carvalho goal gave Gil Vicente the 1-0 victory. Against Chaves we had nothing to lose, 6th place was our spot, and with a 1-0 draw we waited for 5th Place Braga to beat 11th Place Famalicao in the Portuguese Cup, therefore pushing a Euro Conference spot to us in 6th place, and instead they lost 2-0, and we lost out on European football, with a final record of 14-8-12, with 53 goals for and 50 goals against, on 50 points, only 32 behind League Champs Porto.

Noone but ourselves to blame

A look at the Year end statistics will tell you all you need to know about the team though, and to be honest it was both better and worse than I expected. In an 18 team league, finishing 6th in the Offensive Statistical categories is very good, finishing 13th in the defensive ones, not so much. We gave up to many draws and close losses, and finishing last in the league for shutout certainly didn’t help either.

Thanks Braga…

From a League Statistic point of view, we were solid:

And yet, at the end of the day, it’s mostly a façade.

As with almost every club in the Primeira, we had a lot of loan players. While the ones here had some very good performances, Matheus Babi was our leading goal scorer for example, none of them are coming back. Replacing them is going to be hard, because despite overachieving this season, and finishing in the black, the teams finances are shakier than a Lebanese Belly Dancer. Our transfer budget is only 154K, our allowable payroll is just 1K higher than what we are paying now, and that’s before the players I try to bring in on loan clubs start asking me to pay 100% of their salary and huge monthly fees. Our scouting is at a bare minimum, I turned down the opportunity to create a B squad because we can’t afford it, and none of the facilities are getting upgraded.

Times like these I remind myself “Custer Had a Plan too…”

Then the last day of the season came this bit of news:


And I still haven’t gotten my Endrick Signature.

Thanks for Reading!


Derrubando Os Três Grandes: Santa Clara, an FM 23 Story


I have not been playing Football Manager that long, since FM17 really, but in that time I have managed to play quite a few teams in quite a few countries. But one country I have yet to manage in is Portugal. This year I wanted to do more on the blog, and thought taking a club that has not had a lot of success in the first tier of its countries football pyramid could be fun, and Santa Clara fits the bill perfectly. And that’s before I found out some of the issues it has.

Portuguese football has long been dominated by the “Big Three”: Benfica, Porto, and Sporting CP. Between them they have won all but two of the Primera Liga Titles, and our goal is to take them down a peg, or three, or more.

I am going to err on the side of previous good fortune and luck, and have recreated Thierry Davout as head coach. My first big save was with USL Dunkerque in FM17, and Thierry Davout was the man who led us to glory for 20 seasons. This time around, I am hoping he provides more of the same.

The ski I am using at the moment is the excellent Statman skin, created by _Ben_ on the SI forums. For those of us who are a bit more Data Driven, this skin displays a lot of information we would normally have to hunt for in the data hub. You can download it here: Statman 23 It is one on many great new skins being created this year, and I suspect we will see a few more during this save.

Historically speaking, Santa Clara is the most successful club on the Azores Islands, and are the westernmost top flight club in Europe. The spent one year in the Primeira Liga in 1998-99, but were relegated the next season. They were promoted again in 2001, but were relegated again in 2003, and spent the next 15 year’s in the 2nd Tier, before being promoted again at the end of the 2018 season. The 202-2021 season saw them finish 6th, while reaching the corner finals of the Taça de Portugal. This season a poor start saw Mario Silva leave the club, and on 11/23/2022, Thierry Davout took over. What did he find? Well, things could be going better.

While for the moment the club is in the black, financially speaking they are Insecure, and more importantly are currently overspending on their wage budget by about 15K Euros. The club is paying off a 5M Euro loan, it will drop off the books in 2025.

This means a few things:

  • Terminating the contracts of those staff members who don’t meet our criteria is going to be impossible for this season, because we won’t be able to offer the wages we need to to bring in better people.
  • If we can mutually terminate contracts of those staff members who for the moment are “extra” we will.
  • Cutting back where we are spending money, which as you can see was already done by the time we arrived. For the moment we are scouting Portugal. It’s all we can afford to scout, and as my scouting department for the moment consists of a Scout and Chief Scout.
  • Doing what we can to avoid relegation. At the moment we currently sit 14th in the Primeira.

The Good News, such as it is, is that we only have 2 games until the World Cup Winter Break, and then the transfer window, and looking at the squad there is opportunities to sell players and make some money.

The Squad

The Good News: We have a solid Squad. Average age is 24.8 years old, the team as a whole has an overall Determined personality, and there is a decent amount of depth at each position.

The Bad News: We have a solid Squad, 7 of our contributing players are in on loan, and while we have some quality players, there is a distinct lack of youth development going on. No, seriously I have one 16 y/o and on 19 y/o on the roster. My U19 squad is nonexistent, and the U23 squad has 5 players on it.


Gabriel Batista is going to be my 1st Choice Keeper for now. 2 1/2 star Current Ability, 3 1/2 Star Potential Ability, the 24 y/o comes from Flamengo, but is not having the best season so far, with 15 goals allowed in 10 games with just 1 shutout, and a 6.32 rating

Marco has been with the club for 6 seasons, but at 35 y/o his best days are most likely behind him. In 4 appearances this year he’s allowed 7 goals with just 1 shutout, for a paltry 6.15 rating. Compared to the other keeps on the squad he’s 3 star current and potential ability, but if his past game performances and and indicator, he won’t have that 3rd star for long.

Ricardo Fernandes has 7 appearances for the club last season, but the game does not have any numbers for that. at 2 1/2 start current and potential ability, at best he is probably a spot starter,

Center Backs

This is the second thinnest position at the club. While we have other defenders who can play D(C), Kennedy Boateng and Paulo Eduardo are the only two who play this role naturally.

Boateng, a 25 y/o from Togo had 9 Caps for the International Squad, is your prototypical D(C), tall, strong, with very good jumping and capable heading. The 3 star current, 3 1/2 star potential back is defensively solid, I am hoping to get him to contribute more on the set piece side of the ball now.

Paulo Eduardo is one of the good youth players we have. At 20 y/o, the 3 star current, 4 star potential player is almost as good as Boateng. A Free pickup from Cruzeiro, he has the makings of one of those defenders whop is going to have a long, solid career.

Right Backs

Diogo Calila is currently listed and wanted, but I am going to take him off the transfer list. This year the formations I am using tend to have wingbacks in them, and Calila is a solid wingback. At 24 y/o, the 3 start current, 3 star potential ability player has few weaknesses in his attributes, but nothing really stands out either.

Pierre Sanga is the other right Wingback on the squad, but at 32 y/o the 3 star current and potential ability player isn’t as good technically as Calila is. He’s coming off a broken jaw suffered in training, I hope that is not a sign of things to come.

Tomás Domingos can play wingback, but he’d prefer to play in his natural fullback position. At 3 star Current, 4 star potential the 23 y/o is the best defender we have from a technical point of view, and probably from a mental point of view as well. He’s one of the best crossers on the team, so chances are likely he and Calila will split starting duties for the rest of the season.

Left Backs

While Paulo Henrique can play Wingback, Xavi Quntilla is better at it.

Quintilla is going to be on the sidelines until January though, a twisted ankle has the 4 star current 26 y/o in the physios office. Quintilla can also play D(C) quite well, and I expect him to get game time at both. At 5’9″ he is not the most physical of defenders, but he more than makes up for any deficiens there with his very good Mental and Technical attributes.

Paulo Henrique is also 26 years old, and with better overall physical and Technical attributes, the 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential player will most likely be the starter, with Quintilla starting at D(C) next to Boateng.

20 y/o Ítalo has 4 star potential, and I am hoping to get him enough spot starts and off the bench appearances to help him reach that. That he can also play D(C) means he will have more opportunities to do that.

Defensive Midfielders

Victor Bobsin is a 22 y/o Brazilian who could be a stalwart for the club for years to come, if other clubs don’t notice how well he is doing and come to snap him up first. the 4 star current, 4 1/2 star potential has no real weaknesses from an attribute point of view, a 7 FIN being his lowest number, and his Work Rate, Passing, Technique and First Touch make him an ideal facilitator, the pivot from defense to offense. If he does as well as I think he can, it could be a problem holding onto him.

Adriano is a 23 y/o, 3 star current, 4 star potential player who has caught the eye of Panathinaikos, and the clubs financial position means we might not be able to hold onto him. Which would be a shame, as a less capable version of Bobsin I would have no problems starting him if I had to at either DM or M(C). Hopefully he will still be here after the transfer window.


One of our stronger positions in the squad, until you look a closer and realize the best one is 32 years old and the next two best are in a loan. The good news is we have a few players who can play M(C), but these five are the primary ones.

Oscar Barreto is more accomplished at M(R) and the Attacking midfield positions, but he will be a backup for the M(C)’s and AM’s more often than not. The 29 y/o is 3 star current and potential ability, is solid physically, mentally, and the skill specific technical attributes are good as well. Maybe not the start he was back in the day at Millonarios and La Equidad, but he is a capable, versatile bench player, and you can never have enough of those.

Anderson Carvalho has been the midfield General for Os Açoreanos going on 5 years now, but how much longer the 32 y/o is going to stay at 4 start current and potential ability remains to be seen. He’s a BWM of the truest sort, Brave, Aggressive, with excellent teamwork and work rate, and a capable defender if need be. He’s not one who is going to be scoring a lot of goals, or making a lot of assists, but I suspect many a scoring sequence will start with his right foot.

Pedro Bicalho has the making to become the next Anderson Carvalho, at 21 y/o the 3 star current, 4 1/’2 star potential player has the potential to become a very good CM. Currently on loan from Palmerias (I wonder if he could get me Endrick’s signature) he might be out of our price range in the transfer window, but I am going to do what I can to get him back on loan next season.

Bruno Jordão is also in Santa Clara on loan from Wolves. At 24 y/o, the 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential player has been solid off the bench for Santa Clara, and I suspect that is a role he will continue to have going forward, given his positional versatility. The only thing that does worry me is his injury proneness, but I find if you start worrying about that too much, thats when they get hurt.

Rodrigo Valente in a natural AM(C) but I don’t use that in my formations at the moment. He is a very good M(C) though, and I think the 21 y/o 2 1/2 star current, 5 star potential player can have quite a good future there as a CM. He’s been languishing on the bench so far, but I aim to remedy that.

Attacking Mid’s, Left

Similar to our midfield, on paper this looks to be a position of strength, but also similar to our midfield, many of these players are here on loan.

Gabriel Silva would prefer to be an AM(C), but my formation utilizes Inside Forwards. His strong right foot, good speed, pace, technique and off the ball, augmented by his very good flair and better than average Dribbling, finishing and first touch make this 20 y/o a key bench player and starter, while his positional versatility is also a plus. Also on loan from Palmerias, the 3 star current, 4 1/2 star potential youngster could be a very good player in a few years time, hopefully for us.

Rildo is the slightly older, slightly poorer version of Silva, a high flair, high technical Inside forward whose physicals are not as good as they could have been I suspect, but the 22 y/o 3 star current, 4 star potential player has had several solid appearances off the bench this season, and I don’t think that is going to stop anytime soon.

MT is a 21 y/o Brazilian on loan from Vasco de Gama, and at 3 star current 4 1/2 star potential, his positional versatility (He plays a very good M(C) and Striker) would make him a great asset to the squad. We do have a 700K optional future fee on him, but I don’t see us being in a place financially at the end of the season to exercise that option, which means we need to get what we can out of him this year.

Costina is a 30 y/o 3 star current and potential player with too many things going against him right now. First and foremost is that he is recovering from an Achilles injury, and is going to be out the next 4 to 7 weeks. Second are his physicals, while fast and pacy, his strength, stamina and fitness leave a lot to be desired, and his positioning and work rate are not the best either. He has yet to play a game for th club this season, and I will try and move him on on the transfer window.

Filip Stevanović is a 20 y/o with a bright future ahead of him, which is probably why Man City paid Partizan 6.75M Euros to geth him. He had a decent spell at sc Heerenveen last season, and this year has been a solid contributor. I am going to get what I can out of the 3 1/2 star current, 5 star potential youngster, and with City paying Fati 54M to come to Manchester this season, I think my odds of getting him on loan again next season are good.

Attacking Mid’s, Right

It’s a good thing a lot of my attacking midfield players can play both sides, because AM(R) is probably the weakest area in the squad.

Allano is a solid player, the 27 y/o 3 1/2 current and potential Inverted Winger can also play the left side. He is one of those players who does not excel in any area in particular, but is very solid in those attributes that are best for his position.

Kyôsuke Tagawa is leaving in the January transfer window, and to be honest he won’t be missed. I have better younger options with more promise.

André Mesquita is a versatile player, and that’s about the only thing he has going for him really. 2 star current and 2 1/2 star potential ability means the 25 y/o has most likely reached his developmental limit, and he is lacking in to many areas for me to find a place for him on the squad. If he is still part of Os Açoreanos when the transfer window closes, I’ll be surprised.

Bruno Almeida is a slightly older, loan player version of André Mesquita. He’s versatile though, capable of playing all the attacking Mid and Midfield positions, which makes him a nice player to have on the bench. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having him as a full time starter though. Luckily though I won’t have to worry about it, because even if Trofense wanted us to pay an optional future fee for him, it’s not going to be 300K.


Definitely an area of concern, I suppose I should be happy a lot of my Attacking Mid’s can also play up top, but I would prefer a dedicated striker.

Matheus Babi is that striker for me, a 25 y/o Brazilian who’s 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential ability is respectable. On loan from Club Athletico Paranaense, I doubt we are going to be able to get him back for next season, and thats a problem.

João Marcos could be one of those players whose attributes and ability are greater than the sum total, but I doubt it. At 22 y/o the 2 star current, 3 star potential player is not as good as some of the Attacking mids I have that can also play up top.

If Messias is starting a gamne, that means we have not yet trained the Strikerless formation I am moving to as a result of injuries to my attackers.

Season Goals

I think we can finish midtable, somewhere in the 9th to 13th range, and seeing as we are currently in 14th place, I think that is well within the realm of possibility. Due to our financial constraints, we aren’t going to be able to sign new players, or staff, so we may have to play the loan market a little more in January, but we’re only allowed eight, and were at six right now.

No, this season is about survival in the Premeira, and doing well in the League Cup as well. Until the teams finances are a bit more solid, we’re going to have to play the waiting game, and I am OK doing that for now.

Next update will be after the January transfer window has closed, we will take a look at the formation I am using, and take a look at some tips and tricks I can use to get ahead in scouting without having a scouting budget.

Questions or comments, please leave them down below and I’ll answer as fast as I can. Thanks for reading!

1000 Years in the Future Experiment, this time with more Countries: Part 3, Success, Sort Of

The first attempt I was way to optimistic, I loaded 24 nations, created a coach, and went on the eternal vacation.

The game started to crash in the 2220’s, which I expected, just not that early.

Then it crashed hard in the 2300’s. And by crashing hard I mean when trying to load the save the game crashed back to the desktop. So, back the drawing board. This time 12 countries. The game started to crash in the late 2300’s, no problem. Mid 2400’s, hard crash. So I looked at the countries I had loaded, to see who the culprit might be.

England? No.

France? Non.

Germany? Unsere Fußball-Liga-Struktur ist der Inbegriff deutscher Präzision und Perfektion, schau woanders hin, du Idiot!

America? Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner, because I am pretty sure not even the MLS knows the ins and outs of its own rules are, and 400 plus years into a save I think the game broke itself trying to figure it out as well…

So I started again with 8 countries. England, France, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Chile, Portugal and Belgium.

Yes, I forgot Spain. Sorry.

In the 2500’s the game started crashing again. This was not unexpected, because at some point the video card starts throwing an error that causes the game to crash every 8-12 years, 10 being average. So I loaded the last save, renamed it, and started simming again. In the mid 2600’s, it crashed. This time with a ‘The computer is out of memory’ error, which I thought odd, because my laptop has 32GB of Ram.

So I moved the game to my PC, and simmed it when I wasn’t playing it. I wasn’t to sure about the whole RAM issue so I looked at my task manager one day, and it said FM was using 16% of my memory, and I thought “Jellico, that’s not too bad…”

The I realized in my PC i have 128GB of Ram, and 16% of that is 20GB. And that’s not including what the computer uses for its own background processes…

Anyhow, the game ran well until the 2800’s. Then it started crashing again. And the later it got, the shorter time frame between crashes. And in 2854, You can load the game, but it crashes the day after you try simming it. At least it did for me.

So, 2852 being a nice number, I asked JD, who did such a great job with last years video, if he wanted to do it again this year, he said “Yes, me and my mates at the Managers Seat would be willing to help out!” and I sent them the save file, and a week later he tell me they were chatting with Zealand about something unrelated and mentioned the save and Zealand said something to the effect of (and I am paraphrasing here, apologies if this is wrong Z) “I’d love to help with a video on that.” And a couple of discord chats and a recording session later, we were done, and Z’s editors did their usual bang up job in editing.

Watch the video here:

Download the save file here:

A Big Thanks, to Zealand, his editors, JD, Stinger, Leyo and Llama for helping get this out to the masses.

Now, for some answers to questions I know will be asked:

No, I do not have Mickey Higgenson’s attributes, the game was actually running really well then and I do not have a save from when he was playing, and that’s my fault.

For those of you wondering, the is his profile page:

And this is his 2814 World Cup performance.

If you want me to look up a country or results. ask on the video or on the Reddit post I’ve made about this as well please:

Some notes, last years save was 6 countries at 1000 years. That Dbase was smaller than this years version of 8 countries at 830 years. It will load, you can search, but some things like transfer windows and the like will take awhile to load.

Bigger Countries that are playable will have a lost more diversity in results. Thats why Spain has been dominated by two teams, it was not playable. Smaller countries seem to have a diversity of results despite not being playable and I am not sure why…

And yes, I will do this again next year.

Thanks for Reading!


1000 Years in the Future Experiment, this time with more Countries: Part 2 Failure and Success

Well, when I started the second attempt at this save, I wanted to go bigger, and I did, and I think that’s what’s causing the issues the save is having now. While simming on the laptop, there were always a few crashes related to the video card, it’s a NVIDIA thing that can’t be fixed really, but I noticed it was crashing more often, then a day or two ago would crash after just a days worth of simming. So I moved the save over to the Maingear, and it ran great for about a week, processing each day didn’t take too long, and then it crashed, more than once. Which leads me to believe it’s something in the database causing the issue.

And from my point of view, that makes sense. We’re trying to make the program do something it’s not really designed to do, and I think it reached a point here that it can’t reconcile something in the background and as a result, here we are in February of 2361. In looking at my original setup, I think I was way too ambitious and the database was to big. I am going to take a look at things this weekend, but I think I can keep the same countries, but if I put the leagues on Playable/View Only below, and reduce the size of the database as a result, we should get a better long term save, so I am going to look at that this weekend, and probably restart this again here in a week or so.

That said, adding the additional countries was a good thing, it definitely increased the diversity of results, and while in some of the bigger leagues the power teams are still winning, they aren’t nearly as dominating as they were the first time around. Where the additional countries really come into play are competition like the World Cup, the Champions League, and the Euro Cup, the results in those competitions are quite fun to look thru.

The save has been uploaded to Mediafire here: Have a look around, let us find out what you find. The file is 2.8Gb in size, and considering the last 1000 year save I did was 3.72Gb, well, that’s telling in and of itself. I do have attribute masking turned off, so you should be able to look at players.

Now, some screenshot’s to pique some interest:

Just and idea of some of the teams winning in the future.
Old and New
Hope Spring Eternal for some countries.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for another update on the next attempt!


Scouting in Football Manager: You get out of it what you put into it, Part 2

Your team can only have so many scouts, and each of those scouts can only be in so many places thru out the year. And no matter what they are looking for, the next wonderkid, the replacement for your second winger, a backup keeper, the player database can be large enough that you will miss players. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not good either.

That said, no matter the size of your club or the size of the country your club is in, there is one free scouting tool that you can use to try and get a jump on the competition.

However, setting it up can be one of the most time consuming, infuriating things to do, but at the end of the day, it is a very good tool that can help you get the jump on many of those players who may not be “Hall of Famers”, but are in the “Hall of Very Good”.

This tool is Screen Flow.

Screen Flow can be found thru the ‘Preferences’ screen, under the Advanced Tab.

Where to find the Screen Flow

The screen, when you first enter it, is blank. You want to ensure that the ‘Visit News Screens Automatically Box’ is ticked.

When you click on ‘Select Competition’, you’ll see a list of all seven continents and the world.

Now depending on how ‘In depth’ you want your scouting to be will determine what competitions you can scout. You can ALWAYS scout any ‘International’ competition, but where screenflow comes into play is Nation scouting, however there is a…minor drawback in that you can only scout competitions in countries you have loaded.

As an example, I have a test DB that has all the players enabled, giving me a playerbase of ~439,000 players.

In this particular test, I have one countries loaded, England. If I hover over England, you will see a list of every competition you can get reports from. As a note, despite the fact I only have England selected to play, in the following screenshot Italy is showing because it hosts the Italian Youth Club International, but if you were to click on Italy, you would not see any Italian League/competition options available for reports.

A list of all the Competitions you can get reports from.

Once you have the competition you want to receive reports from identified, select it, and it will be added the ‘Main’ screen. From here, you have even more options.

My suggestion would be to use the following: Stats|Player Overview in the ‘Screen Option’, your ‘Minimum Interval’ should be N/A, ‘Scope’ I would leave on ‘On Matchdays’, and Stop Game to ‘No’, then select Add Screen, where you can enter in the next competition you want results from. When you have all the competitions you want reports from, select ‘Confirm’ at the bottom. You will get the ‘Changing Skin’ window, and then it will be back to your game.

Now, during the course of playing, when a game for a competition you have loaded has been played, a new screen will pop up. This is from my current save with Crystal Palace:

Essentially, what this screen is a report comprised of the players statistical data collected from the games played in competition up to the present in game date. I like to think of it as a manager, coach or analyst sitting down in front of their laptop and pulling up statistics from one of the many websites out there that reports results and includes data on the players form, and the Screen Flow screen is additional filtering of the results.

One of the many nice things about this screen is that under Stats, you can change the report, and the options match the options on the screenflow. The other thing that you can look at are the boxes underneath the initial window. All of these are customizable, and the good news is you can add any game statistic that FM has data for. The bad news is that you only have 8 boxes to use.

The worse news is that sometimes when you are using a skin that is not the base skin, the data boxes change, even if you go back and reset them. I am not sure why, but on some skins they do not move, and on other skins they do. One of the cool things I have found is that there are a couple of skins out there that have modified the xml controlling this view, and have made some very cool changes:

I about fell out of my chair when I saw this.

This is that same competition report from the skin I am using, and you will notice that in Average rating, DET has been added, and in Goals, FIN has been added. In this competition, David Mafoso is leading with six goals, and has a finishing of 11-17, and if we click on his name, his player panel we see he is a 16 year old striker with at least 11 FIN, 15 JUMP, and decent TEC, OTB and ACC. He’s also been capped at the under 19 level.

Not a lot of information at first, but some intriguing numbers there.

From here, if you have the ability to scout him, scout him. If not, add him to a shortlist.

For every competition you add, you will get a screen. If you have a lot of countries loaded, you can get results from a lot of competitions. In My current save with Crystal Palace, I have added every Youth International Competition, and every countries U23 and U19 major competitions, but as an example of what you can add here are the options for Brazil, and you have to scroll down to get the rest. But seriously reports from U20 State Championships? That’s cool.

There is no such thing as to many competitions to scout…

The other thing that is cool is that you can add a country, set it to view only, and then in the Screen Flow you will be able to load competitions from that country. So even if you are playing with a small database, it’s possible to add every country and set it to view only, and you can get reports from them. What this does to the player size of the database as you progress into the save I am not sure, but if like me, you are into scouting, this is a good tool to use.

Just one country playable, the rest on ‘View Only’
From the Screenflow of that save, all the countries on ‘View Only’ are eligible for reports.

While the Screen Flow doesn’t show you everything, if you set it up they way you want, and see the same name popping up in multiple categories, its a sign they may be a good player. It could also be a sign they are a mediocre player in a bad league, but you don’t know until you look.

As an example, this is Jair, one of the many Brazilian Newgens with potential. However, as good as he is Attribute wise, he was never capped at the U20 or U19 level, and has only 1 U23 Cap. However, when he was a youth player at FLA, I first saw him on a screenflow for the Brazilian U20 Cup. Then I saw him on the screenflow for the U23 National Competitions screenflow, and while he wasn’t top in any category, he was top 5. I scouted him for two weeks, liked what I saw, and put him on a shortlist, and then when the FLA U20’s won the National Championship, I scouted him fully, and liked what I saw. I made an offer for him, I was the only team at the time interested in him, and got him for 7.25M. A Good loan spell at Coventry, and then a starter this current season, he now has 5 star potential, and is valued at 22-29M.

Found him thru screenflow reports

In addition to being a scouting tool, Screenflow can also be used as a transfer tool as well. Here I am in Brazil, and have selected the Brazilian First National Division, because I don’t have the real name fix installed on this save. Once selected, you have a variety of reports you can get, and in this case I am going to select ‘News|Transfer Rumors’. Then under ‘Scope’ I am going to change the option to ‘During Transfer Window’, and the ‘Minimum Interval’ to ‘Every Three Days’. Click add screen, confirm, the skin will reload, and now, during the Brazilian transfer window, you will get various rumors and which team they are associated with. It literally is a free tool you can use to get a jump on the competition, if your willing to spend the time an energy and go down a rabbit hole or three.

As good as Screen Flow is, there is some bad news, and for some people it may be a dealbreaker.

What’s not cool is that screenflow is not a view. It cannot be saved/exported, so every time you start a new save, you have to re-enter EVERYTHING you want results for. It’s a lot of clicking, and if you are adding a lot off competitions, you will want to click ‘Confirm’ every once and a while.

And if for some reason you hit Reset, it will remove everything you have entered. EVERYTHING. which means if your like me and your wanting reports from every country and International Youth competition, you can get a bad case of cramps, if not carpal tunnel.

However, having used it in multiple saves over multiple version of FM now, I can say that it is a very good arrow in the quiver that is scouting. You get reports from competitions in regions you are not scouting, or may even have zero knowledge in. You can build and add to shortlists that will help you in the future, and while to computer is out there searching for every potential wonderkid, even though you are in League One, getting ready to join the Championship, you got a screenflow report from the Korean League, and saw the same name pop up consistently, and when the board gave you enough transfer money to make some purchases, you bought the young D(C) who will never be more than 4 stars, but was a defensive stalwart for your team for 12 years, helping you win the Prem, the Euro Cup, and the Champions League before he retired, at the bargain price of 3.5 million pounds.

I hope this was helpful, and if there are any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, or you can tag me on twitter @FM_Jellico.

Thanks for reading, and good luck in your future scouting!

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!


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:

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!


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.

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:

2029/30€1M (and 3 players on loan at €315K)€46K
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.