I Only Play Here Because It Beats Starving

Everyone knows about World Football’s (that’s Soccer to you Americans) greatest transfers. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Real Madrid for the ridiculous amount of 132 Million US dollars and Real Madrid President Perez boasting about a transfer budget in the vicinity of 800 million Euros, which means they can pretty much buy out every other major club in the world.

But what about those clubs that are worth less than a pair of Cristiano’s used boots?

I’m talking about clubs like Hyde United, Northwich Victoria and Bognor Regis Town, clubs with almost zero finances that rely on amateur and part time players to succeed.

In this somewhat-regular column, I will be advising Football Manager 2009 players managing the lowest league clubs on where to find excellent footballers on the cheap. I gathered these from my own experiences playing the game as lowly Hyde United as well hanging around the Football Manager fandom. I don’t claim to be the best LLM there is, as stories of conference teams becoming European champions are common in the fandom and that achievement will pretty much melt my face if I ever accomplish it.

This is the final week and if you missed the previous articles here are the links to them:
I Only Play Here Because It Beats Starving, Week 1:Strikers
I Only Play Here Because It Beats Starving, Week 2:Midfielders
I Only Play Here Because It Beats Starving, Week 3:Defenders
I Only Play Here Because It Beats Starving, Week 4:Goalkeepers

Since you’ve already filled your team with top quality players (by lower league standards anyway) here’s some tips to get the most out of your lower league players.



1. Load up all players from Reunion

On the first screen when starting a new game, you are asked to select which leagues should be in play at any time. At the very bottom you should have an option called “Load all players from:” This will make every player from that nation available to you. Choose to load all players from Reunion.

Where is Reunion you ask? It’s a small island nation off the coast of Madagascar that is a part of French Territory.

Why should you load up this small nation? Because it has some great footballers that will play on your team for a pittance! Some players have signed half of the Reunion national team for their club! They’re just that good!


2. Select the bottom most league you possibly can

When selecting which country’s leagues to load, go as far down as you can and load up the lowest league in each country. This will give you a sizable pool of players to buy. Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck with no good players to purchase within your budget!


3. Always go to Trialist games

Some nations have a “Trial day” where young players who were released by big name clubs for not being good enough. The local Football Association will organize these clubs-less players into 4 teams and play them in friendly matches together in the hopes that some lower league teams will scout them.

You absolutely NEED to attend at least some of these matches yourself. There are many top quality young players just waiting to be signed for free with no strings attached. If you’re too lazy, at the very least send a scout to check out these players.



4. Hire old players who can double as coaches

Usually, the boardroom will try to limit the number of coaches you can have in an effort to keep the wage budget under control. A way around this is looking around your squad for players over the age of 30. You can offer these players a dual role as player/coaches. They won’t count against the coach limit set by the chairman and they’re usually better than standalone coaches!


5. Keep it Simple, Stupid!

Remember that you are dealing with amateur or semi-professional players, playing complex formations and giving a multitude of instructions and you will see them being confused on the pitch as they can barely kick a ball without tripping over their own legs.

Keep things simple with a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 and set marking to “Man Marking”. You can change a few things and give players some instructions but try to limit yourself.



6. Pay attention to a player’s physical stats!

In lower league football, most players can never develop the technical skills needed to survive at top flight football but physical stats? These things are something any player can achieve regardless of skill as they are natural talents, when scouting players with similar skills, ALWAYS go for the player with the better physical stats even if he has slightly worse mental or technical skills.

In this example picture, I have a young English striker called Lucas Akins, his technical and mental stats are, to be kind, miserable. However, look at his physical stats. His speed and acceleration are amazing! He’ll outrun defenders all day long! Second, look down at his season stats, 10 goals in 17 appearances as well as 4 assists and 2 “man of the match” awards. That’s very good for a striker who’s only saving grace is being really, really fast. Don’t you agree?


Well that’s the end of these “Starving” columns, I hope they helped you with your lower league struggles and if you haven’t tried lower league management, take a break from managing Chelsea and give it a try!

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