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What’s the most rewarding type of FM save?

One of the joys of Football Manager games is that there are so many different ways that you can play the game. You can take over at Manchester City or PSG on day one, dominate the league, assemble a team full of wonderkids and build a dynasty. Or you can pick a struggling team in an obscure league, scratch around for bargains, and let your tactical wizardry and inspirational team talks work their magic as fans from Nevada to Nicosia bet on you to turn a downtrodden side into champions.


Neither of these ways of playing is the right or the wrong one, and in fact it’s a good idea to do something different with each save. When you play five seasons with Domzale, you’ll gain scouting knowledge of the Slovenian league which will be useful if you decide later on to take on a mid-table Belgian club that relies on bargains to compete with the likes of Brugge and Anderlecht. And by moving around with each save, there’s a decent chance of ending up with a soft spot for a club you’d never really thought about before. Taking into account that the game contains thousands of clubs and dozens of leagues, what is the most enjoyable way to play?


Take your local team as far as you can


Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you don’t live within walking distance of the Etihad or Parc des Princes for this one. Let’s imagine that you’re an Andre Villas Boas — never really played football, but very fond of tactics and a brilliant analyst. Your local club has fired their manager and is prepared to take a punt on someone who’s never managed before. You’re now in the hot seat at a stadium you may actually be able to see from your house — you may even have taken a pay cut to do the job. Now, see how far you can go. Can you build to the point where you’ll be remembered as the tactical savant who took Bonnyrigg Rose to the Champions League Group stages?


Rebuild a fallen giant


Those of us who are old enough can remember when the Champions League contained just one club from each country and was called the European Cup. If you’re not old enough, ask someone who is: Steaua Bucharest won the trophy in 1986. Teams like Honved, Widzew Lodz, and Aberdeen were often seen in the quarter-finals. These teams now tend to be eliminated early on in the Conference League, if they even qualify for that. Bringing back the glory days to a side such as Ferencvaros or IFK Goteborg can be one of the most rewarding challenges you embark upon. You could even try to make Everton good again.


Make an international impact


Older versions of FM required you to do well enough at the helm of a club before they’d give you access to international football, but that’s not the case anymore. You could go straight in as coach of Argentina, who for some reason have decided Lionel Scaloni’s not the guy and picked you instead. Or, and this is more fun, you could pick a nation that’s not had much luck recently and try to catapult them into the higher reaches of the FIFA rankings. This is particularly fun if you pick an also-ran that has one or two great players and a lot of honest triers. Can you harness Martin Odegaard and Erling Haaland’s talents to get Norway back to the top table, or spur Slovenia to Euros glory on the back of wonderkid Benjamin Sesko?

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