Hey guys, I’m back with part 2 of my Football Manager financial guide. Let me start by saying thank you for the support and kind words, your comments from part 1 meant a lot. For anyone who hasn’t, please check part one of my financial guide…doing so will help in understanding part two..
OK, so part one covered all the basics. We looked at income, expenditure and a few other financial aspects. Then used my Newcastle save to analyze different ways of improving your clubs finances as well as secure the long term future. All fairly simple, well part two
isn’t such a walk in the park. While playing FM, I tend to succeed very quickly, but then see my club slowly decline below the level I have become accustomed to. This is partly down to finances and my owners getting sick of seeing red, but also poor squad management. Every season I expect to buy bigger and better players, understandable as my club keeps growing in stature. But after you’ve spent £15 million plus on one player, the price tags start to sore out of control. Before you know it, you are spending £60 million a year on just three players. Then as the seasons progress you lose track of which positions to buy for and just target the best players on the market. A few more years down the line and you’re stuck with an old squad, or lacking in particular departments, or even in so much debt the chairmen won’t offer £2 to buy a BLT sandwich from the cafeteria. Well today that stops!!
Part one of this financial guide was created to teach you the basics on how to save money and create stability. Part two is not only to make you rich, but also keep tabs on some much needed squad management. Over the past few weeks I have been working on something called the ‘youth to gold’ system. Before explaining my new system, we should establish a few ground rules. Firstly, this is not guaranteed to work and will come down to your skills as a scout and youth developer. Secondly, this system takes a lot of time and patience to implement, so don’t expect any easy answers. Last of all, you must have completed the following stages before trying to implement my ‘youth to gold’ system.
- Stage 1: Survive and build – every club starts somewhere, whether it be the bottom division, a relegation threatened Premier League side or the best club in England. You must survive the early years, doing whatever is necessary to gain success and move forward. Even if this means ignoring your finances. You must buy the required players to move up the table and gain that all important European status.
- Stage 2: Prepare for the future – You should hopefully be moving up the table/leagues quickly. You must start to build a better future. This means getting the youth and training facilities upgraded ASAP. Also get the best possible backroom staff. Amazing coaches to train your squad and incredible scouts to find talented players are vital. Without these the system fails.
- Stage 3: Stabilize and secure – When you have achieved European qualification and created a successful squad, we need to stabilize. This means following part one of this financial guide. Correct your wage budget, offload the over paid members and get your squad size down to around 26 players. All the time upgrading your facilities and finding the best coaches/scouts available.
- Stage 4: Implement my ‘youth to gold’ system – When you have achieved Champions League status, your squad should be at a very high level. This means you shouldn’t need to spend inflated prices for players over the age of 24. This is the perfect time to try my new system.
What is the ‘youth to gold’ system?
Basically, its like playing chess. You need to assess the best time to sacrifice your top players. This means accepting big transfer offers for the greater good, like sacrificing your queen for check mate. Thomas Levin (FM Pundit) has this down to a tee within his Udinese save. However my ‘youth to gold’ system is on a much bigger scale. We will use pre-defined selling dates for each player to plan the clubs future. By planning a big players departure, we can sign a cheaper wonderkid with enough time to develop him as a replacement…this is as opposed to panic buying when the likes of Afellay get too old, or are ready to be sold. On an even better note, because we’ve signed the wonderkid replacement young, he should hopefully be cheap. This will lead to a big profit when the wonderkid is finally sold. Hopefully you understand me so far and see a cycle developing.
Guidelines to follow
I know this system could get messy and disorganised, but below are the pointers you should follow and be strict with. If the system is to work, we must be buying youth at the right age, time and price. For the purpose of these guidelines, we’ll say I’m wanting to plan for the sale of Afellay and the purchase of his replacement.
- I should buy players under the age of 22, but preferably around the ages of 16-18.
- Each players transfer should not exceed £7 million, and players should have a potential sell on value of at least double that in six years time.
- I should plan for the new wonderkid to replace Afellay when he reaches 27-30 years old. This means Afellay will be around peak age and still worth a lot, but we won’t be missing more than two of his best years.
- Afellay must still have two years running on his contract during the year I want to sell. This will avoid low transfer offers.
- The new wonderkid should be bought at least three years before Afellay’s departure. This is so I have time to develop him and nurture the youngster into Afellay’s role.
You need to follow these guidelines for every player. It will take a while to see the financial benefits, but they should be great. If you sign a 17 year old for £3 million, then develop him into a top class player. By the time he departs at 27-29 years old you could sell him for a massive profit. If you have followed the system correctly, his replacement will have been purchased at least three years ago and be ready to walk into the limelight without damaging the squads quality. You’ll need a great eye for talent and the correct facilities/staff, but the youth to gold system will work if approached correctly.
Prototype – the testing begins with Newcastle
That’s right friends, when my Newcastle game resumes, I will be testing the ‘youth to gold’ system. Below is my squad and you’ll notice various different age groups for various different positions. This is because I’ve been trying to build for the future already. The youth to gold system must be applied to every player. Therefore you’ll notice a ‘planned departure’ for every squad member. This is the year I intend on selling the player. Obviously certain circumstances could change the preferred year, but its a good estimate. You’ll also notice each departure is arranged for the players latter years (between 27-30 years old.)
|Name||Position||Age||Value||Planned departure (now in 2014)|
|Gökhan Inler||DM, M (C)||30||£5.25M||2015|
|Steven Taylor||D (RC)||28||£6M||2014|
|José Enrique||D/WB (L)||28||£6.25M||2015|
|Ibrahim Afellay||M/AM (RLC)||28||£11.5M||2016|
|Martín Cáceres||SW, D (C)||27||£4.6M||2015|
|Sami Khedira||DM, M (C)||27||£5M||2016|
|Danny Guthrie||M (C)||27||£3.5M||2015|
|Danny Simpson||D (R)||27||£3.4M||2015|
|Nicolás Gaitán||M (L), AM (LC), ST||26||£8M||2016|
|Micah Richards||D (RC)||26||£5.5M||2017|
|Theo Walcott||AM (R), ST||25||£6.5M||2018|
|Kieran Gibbs||D/WB/M/AM (L)||24||£3.3M||2018|
|Gaël Kakuta||M/AM (RLC)||23||£3M||2019|
|Jack Rodwell||D (C), DM, M (C)||23||£7.75M||2020|
|Mateo Musacchio||SW, D (C)||23||£6.25M||2020|
|Danny Wilson||D (LC)||22||£26M||2022|
|Jack Wilshere||M/AM (RLC)||22||£6.5M||2021|
|Dudu||M (R), AM (RC), ST||22||£6M||2014|
|Marco Verratti||M/AM (C)||21||£4.6M||2020|
|Phil Clark||DM, M (LC)||19||£3.4M||2023|
|Marcos Pereyra||D (LC), WB (L)||18||£2.2M||2023|
|Luis Hernández||M/AM (C), ST||18||£12.25M||2024|
|Peter Kalu||D (C), DM, M (C)||17||£4.5M||2024|
Based on the table above, I can work out when I need to be buying my replacements. ie Afellay leaves during 2016, but I’ve already got the incredible Hernandez waiting at the age of 18. He will be 20 when Afellay is sold and ready to takeover. Remember my three year rule, each youngster must be bought at least three years prior to a current squad member been sold. E.g. Kieran Gibbs is scheduled to leave during 2018, therefore I need to get his replacement during 2015 so the youngster has time to develop.
How could this effect finances?
Simple, if you get organised and plan your squad management you won’t be forced to buy older players at a huge price. Plus, by following my ‘youth to gold’ system you shouldn’t be paying more than £7 million per player…then you’ll be selling them on at a later date for double the original price. Obviously I can’t expect to just pay £7 million or under for every single player, but lets say I did. How would the transfer income and expenses look?? Lets fast forward to the year 2022. This should be around the time my first ‘youth to gold’ signings are eventually sold. Lets pretend three of these players are scheduled to leave Saint James Park, one originally bought for £2m, another for £4m and the final player for £6m. Remember these players are aimed to sell for double their cost, which means an overall transfer income of £24 million. Now lets say we need to buy three new youngsters within the same year. The maximum fee should be £7 million, so a maximum of £21 million can be spent. Hence my transfers could pay for themselves.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘I hardly ever sell a player for double their original value.’ That could be because you’re not selling them at the right time, age or when they have a reasonable contract length. But I share your concerns. The worst case scenario is you wind up selling players for a smaller profit, but the transfers should still pay for themselves if you’re buying the players young enough and at the right price. Below are some players that I have seen sold for a huge profit. I have listed the value you can purchase each youngster for in 2010, as well as what I’ve seen them sold for after their 25th birthday. This proves doubling your money is possible.
|Name||Club||Position||Age||bought for||sold for|
|Kyriakos Papadopoulos||Schalke||D (C)||18||£6.5M||£15M|
|Adam Hlousek||Kaiserslautern||AM (L), ST||21||£3M||£12M|
|Alfred N’Diaye||AS Nancy Lorraine||D (C), DM, M (C)||20||£4.2M||£12M|
|Raphaël Varane||RC Lens||D (C)||17||£5.5M||£14M|
|Yaya Sanogo||AJ Auxerre||ST||17||£5M||£19M|
|Rafael Tolói||Goiás||D (C)||19||£4M||£10M|
|Leonel Galeano||Independiente||D (C)||18||£6M||£21M|
|Sébastien Corchia||Le Mans FC||D/WB (R)||19||£5.5M||£13M|
|Serge Aurier||RC Lens||D/WB (R)||17||£5M||£14M|
|Vaclav Kadlec||Sparta Prague||AM (L), ST||18||£4.8M||£15M|
|Tom Cairney||Hull||M (C)||19||£2.2M||£10M|
|Dennis Appiah||AS Monaco FC||D (RC), WB (R)||18||£5M||£11M|
|Sime Vrsaljko||Dinamo||D/WB (R), DM, M (C)||18||£3M||£10M|
|Lorenzo Crisetig||Inter||DM, M (C)||17||£1.3||£18M|
|Kevin||Zaragoza||M (RC), AM (C)||18||£2M||£15M|
|Eyal Golasa||M. Haifa||M/AM (RLC)||18||£425K||£4.2M|
I accept you won’t sell every single ‘youth to gold’ type signing for double the price…but by selling them at the right time you MUST make a profit at least. Now, when I say the right time, I mean if there is a good offer on the table 1-2 years before your planned selling date, accept it. If you’ve followed the guide, you will have an extremely talented youngster just one year away from been capable of filling the hole anyway. I just put the three year rule there as an example, you may want to change this. It all depends on your managing style and age of transfer targets. Some players need more time to fit into the slot than others. Please remember part two of this guide is a concept, not something that can be put in place and work straight away. I formulated this idea to try out myself and just wanted to share it with the FM community. You could use the structure of my ‘youth to gold’ system, but generate your own version to suit your style. Just remember that buying replacements early, at a young age and a decent price are key. You should also make a big effort to sell your older players before the age of 30.
I hope this post wasn’t too complicated, I have redone it a few times to get the wording right. If you have any questions I’m happy to help as always, but we’ll soon see how this system works…I’m getting close to resuming my Newcastle game and testing this ‘youth to gold’ system. Until next time, thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments as always.
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