Football Manager is one of the most popular computer game series around and we have put together a guide to show you how to create your own club in the latest version, Football Manager '16.
"To change your squad and sign players you'll need to search for players, by pressing the 'Add Player' button in the bottom right corner, you can only sign players if their budget value is afforded by your club budget."
Football Manager 2016's Create-a-Club mode is an interesting addition to the franchise, giving you a degree of flexibility to how you want to approach the game. It can be used to create a fantasy club with its own badge and customised rivalries to slot into any league available. Or it can be used to tailor an existing club, turning relegation favourites into championship challengers. Maybe you just want to reverse the disastrous transfer window that saw your team's star players sold and replaced with cheap knock-offs?
While many players will undoubtedly see this as cheating, Create-a-Club mode is a versatile tool. While purists will dismiss it, it gives you the opportunity to tackle the challenges of Football Manager in your own way.
As with any new game of Football Manager, first you must choose your active leagues and database size - your new side will be replacing one of the existing teams and to begin with you will inherit their squad (more on that later). Next you create your manager and his in-game avatar, best of luck with getting him or her looking like an actual human being instead of a terrifying alien.
Next you choose your team and the tooltip here is important to read: "You can choose your chosen club's details in the next stage with the exception of its finances, facilities, reputation and continental competition". This means that whichever team you choose are the template on which your club is based. While you do have the power to change a great many things in create-a-club, those details are not among them - with one exception. While that tooltip mentions reputation, you can actually change that in the next section. What this means is that you cannot make Leeds United into the great team you feel they deserve to be straight off the bat and your replacement for them will initially remain in the Championship. The most important thing to note on this screen is your choice of club's budget - which will be important moving forward (see the next section on How Budgets Work).
The next screen is where you create your club. You can name them, give them a nickname and choose a logo either from one of the selections or importing an image. From this screen you can also edit the team strips and choose whether or not to retain the team's backroom staff. Let's go into more detail on the other three options available at this point.
This is where you can set up rivalries with other teams and choose the strength and nature of those rivalries. If you decide to set up rivalries, keep in mind that games against those teams will have an impact on your squad, especially depending on how good your players are at getting motivated for big games. You can also set up no-transfer policies between the clubs as per Tottenham and Arsenal.
You can decide upon favoured and disliked personnel here - signing a player or coach who is favoured will usually please your fans. The opposite is true if your team has a vendetta against them. People in these lists will often be quoted in the press talking about your side as well, although that's largely to add flavour to the game.
This is where you can set up parent and feeder clubs for your side and there are a whole host of options and check boxes to set up here that change the nature of these affiliations. For instance, if you want to become the Manchester United B Team, you would make sure 'Main Team' is unchecked, decide whether you play an annual friendly and whether players move freely between the sides. You can even check financial help and have a set figure paid to you annually. The options here are incredibly in-depth and flexible, allowing you to support a local lower league team or setting up far more complex business arrangements.
This allows you to edit some rather important details about your club - choosing attendance sizes, stadium capacity and reputation. If you want your club to be able to attract and keep hold of talent that is affordable but might see your club as beneath them, reputation is one number you'll need to change. To do this you need to pick a number between 1-10000. As a point of reference, Barcelona's reputation is set at 9350, while a relegation scrapping Premier League team will be around 6400.
Also in this section is Tactical Attributes. This constitutes the style of football a team is adept at playing. Please note, though, that this is not really relevant to human players, but will affect a club when choosing a new manager or A.I. signings. It also ties in with managerial styles at the end of the guide.
How Budgets Work
The budgets used in Create-A-Team are a combined total of player value and current contracts, used to determine how much leeway you have in adding players to the playing squad without going over your selected team's budget. A player's budget value represents not just a player's market worth, but also reflects the length of their contract and their wages. This is why you might see some surprising results if you sort players by their budget value. Usually players who have been recently signed or renewed their contracts will have higher values here, even if they're not necessarily your squad's most valuable asset. Budgets are very important going into the next section of the guide.
Choosing your squad - How is it done?
To change your squad and sign players you'll need to search for players, by pressing the 'Add Player' button in the bottom right corner, you can only sign players if their budget value is afforded by your club budget. Searching for players by default asks you to input a name, but you can use the powerful filters here to find exactly what you need. Do this by checking the 'Customise Filter' button. From here you can search for players by role, team and even their height. Note that you cannot search by ability or potential ability - hidden stats are still hidden except when creating new players.
Each league will have some further requirements regarding your squad that you'll need to adhere to, including Squad Size and Homegrown player requirements. Many divisions and countries allow players under the age of 20 to be freely added to a squad.
Choosing your squad - tips
Many teams will start in a position very close to their overall budget and you'll probably need to remove some players before you can start adding to your squad. Doing this is very easy - simply click remove player while they are highlighted. Look for recent signings on bumper contracts or the squad's deadwood in particular here. For instance, using Sunderland as a base, Sebastian Coates' budget value is £8 million based on a long-term contract, removing him and squad players like Danny Graham will give you a lot of room to manoeuvre.
Alternatively you can simply choose to clear the entire squad and build a team from the ground up with all registered players being set to free agents. Be careful here, though, if you release Barcelona's entire roster of players into the market, you'll change the entire landscape of football.
Creating New Players
You can also create up to two players, setting their attributes including their ability and potential. Remember that the game will assign created players a budget value and it's easy to get carried away creating a player you cannot possibly afford.
The last section of Create-A-Club mode requires you to choose your manager's coaching skills and mental strengths and it is based on your playing career and coaching badge level. You can then assign points in two trees, with more allocated depending on the level of experience you set. This will affect your starting statistics and is used by the A.I. to judge your abilities. For instance if you are a former Sunday league footballer, you'll have poor stats and may have a harder time dealing with the board and winning over the fans - especially if you're managing a top tier team.