PreSeason, Lay the Groundwork


For some of us, the most fascinating aspect of playing Football Manager is the preparation work that lays the groundwork for future success. And, you do this all in preseason. Finances, player search, staff assignments and training work can play a vital role in this. The best thing you can do to prepare is to have a solid plan.

LeeMOD raised a question on BusttheNet, my Youtube channel. He wanted to know how I do things. For every club I manage, the first thing I look at are club finances.  My goal in each and every case:

Overall Financial Health of Club

PreSeason Finance
PreSeason Finance Souces

Look for debts, Income vs Expenses.  Debts can saddle every plan you create, so you want to make sure that you control expenses. Managing big clubs is easy, when it comes to smaller ones it gets even more easier.  You need to set up a plan to generate loads of money, and you need to know where future expenses are going to go.  There is little you can do as a small club, apart from making sure that you don’t go above the wage budget.

As a small club you can’t look at things like merchandising, that kicks in once you start having affiliate clubs overseas. Small clubs need to make sure they don’t bust the wage budget. As a manager you have limited control over transfer budgets. Sometimes its better to set a cap on salaries so you can manage this aspect.

Benchmark yourself against the best club in the league. Identify what they pay their best players and then use that as a yardstick for your own club. Know that there is where you want to end up, and plan accordingly. This way you don’t overpay wages. Its the single biggest aspect of aiming high. That’s wages. The next thing you do is to start a plan, to apply a wage ceiling, once a player asks for wages that goes above what you impose. Sell him. And always look at making a profit by selling once you complete a title winning season.  I usually have a target depending on which league I am in to make a target amount via player sales. That figure is £50million every two seasons. By 1o seasons you should be a billion £ club.

Using a Club DNA

PreSeason Club DNA
PreSeason Club DNA

Every club I manage has a club DNA. In the screenshot you will notice several attributes. When it comes to choosing players for the future, I cull players from my academy who are less than 10 in natural fitness. For senior players if their first touch is lower than 12, there are usually compelling reasons for them to avoid the chop.

As a manager you need to know what kind of system you aim to play. Identifying players comes after. If you are taking a club over for the first time, you still need a Club DNA because you need to know who fits into your plan and who cannot. There is no room for emotional attachment.

Get the Right Staff

You will have a cap on staff. Keep trying to get your club management to increase that number. At the very minimum you will a

PreSeason Staff Search
PreSeason Staff Search

coach each for every specialisation area. So if you are looking at attacking you need to find one coach for that role, and then you will also need another to reduce the load. Senior coaches can also work with the reserve teams. Sports Interactive have made easier to find coaches who fit specialisation areas. The screenshot shows how I found a scout to become an attacking coach. Clicking on the panel on the left gives you a drop down, selecting items on the dropdown then indicate relevant attribute areas.

Filters, filters, filters

Please use filters, it makes it easier for you to go through the lists. Don’t forget to send your scouts to the right areas. If you are managing on a tight budget, why bother scouting leagues where transfer fees are sky-high? Go to regions where you can find players on the cheap. I usually go to countries in Eastern Europe or smaller South American countries. You can set the filters up to identify key attributes and you can send the scouts out specifically for players of certain attributes. So if you are not using filters, you are wasting a lot of time. In the screenshot on the right I have it set looking for ‘Destroyers” my defensive midfielders.

In episode 11 of the Torino Diaries I will look at this closely in preseason with Torino – my next billion£club








  1. Why you cull players from the academy with less than 10 especially in natural fitness ?
    Because they don’t retain condition easily when injured ?
    Also stamina and the hidden ” injury proneness ” don’t take a part for the fitness ?

    And you do that even in the highly rated P.A youths ?

    1. Yup, PA is just PA, if he has low natural fitness its like bad baggage for a long time. They can’t last a full game, and can’t play my kind of intense football. So I cull them. I’ve had so many great PA low natural fitness players, and it was annoying having to sub them. So my policy now is to get rid of them. I play them long enough to get their ratings well enough, then I sell em off. I have never regretted it

  2. I’m stuck with the natural fitness of the youths and at the same time very impressed by you.
    Is it possible to make the ClubDNA view available for download ? because the pic is tiny and can’t open.
    Also i have seen other interesting views about your training and match day, if you make them available for download it would be great.

  3. So how does your ClubDNA fit into your training schedule? So let’s take a AMR position player that is 12+ in your core ClubDNA with the exception of a 9 in composure and 6 in tackling. Do you focus his individual attribute on tackling?

    1. Imagine a player has a total of
      100 attribute points to distribute throughout his life. In this case as a manager I focus on his role attributes and make its aligned to
      Club DNA. For an AMR these would be first touch composure
      Acceleration pace crossing dribbling finishing and passing. Knowing that he has a finite amount of attributes I target physicals when he is young along with first touch and once I feel he has hit an acceptable mark I work on other attributes.

      Choosing the right kind of role training is important because a lot of roles could impact your Club DNA

Leave a Reply