You’ve got a lot to juggle as a football manager and there are times when FM 2012 can be unforgiving. You need to think about your approach and style for each aspect of the game to make sure your club runs smoothly and you achieve your goals.
Handling the Press
The press can be a real thorn in your side at times and at other times they can provide a helping hand. The responses at your disposal for press conferences and interviews will be familiar for most Football Manager veterans – they really haven’t changed much. To be honest dealing with the press does get boring and you might not feel like attending every pre and post-match press conference.
You can always send your assistant, but be careful to monitor what they say or you might find they have a detrimental effect on the players. I think it’s best to just attend each one yourself and if you do then you’ll get a reputation for being media friendly which is a positive thing from the board’s point of view and should help make the press less stand-offish with you.
Your approach when dealing with the press depends on what kind of manager you want to be. Some players will love it if you are outspoken and hot-headed, others will find it unprofessional. Always check what your player is thinking when you see the PR icon next to their name.
Although you may be tempted to complain about a poor referee decision you should know that it is likely to lead to a fine for the club and it won’t please the board. It is ultimately pretty pointless because they virtually never overturn a decision. The fans and some of the players might appreciate it, but I don’t think it’s really worth doing.
Keeping good relations with other managers is generally a good idea but if they are playing mind games with you there’s nothing wrong with retaliating. Just be careful because sometimes you can inspire a team and really fire them up by attacking their manager. You can also annoy your own players. On the other hand, done correctly you can create discord at a team and make the manager’s job tougher.
When it comes to team selection and injuries I’d advise not telling the press your plans. Obviously you don’t want to give the opposition any clue as to how you’ll play, although you could always give them fake information and then try to spring a tactical surprise.
The press can also come in handy for transfer situations. You may want to express an interest in a player so that they request a move and it becomes easier to sign them. This works well if they are at a small club and likely to want to sign for you. It might not have the desired impact if they are at a big club and you could end up angering their manager which could make it tougher to sign them.
Handling the Board
You can access the Boardroom from your team menu and it’s worth keeping a close eye on. You really need to keep the board happy if you want to stay in the job. That starts with the start of season expectations. Don’t be tempted to promise that you’ll win the league so you can get a bigger budget if you don’t think you can deliver. Failure is likely to lead to the sack.
The handiest option on the Boardroom screen relates to your wage and transfer budgets. You should find that you can adjust the budget as you see fit. This is especially handy at smaller clubs where you want to boost your wages for bargain and free transfer signings by reducing your transfer budget (it’s a slider).
Obviously you will get updates on the board’s reaction to specific results and signings. There are some obvious ways to keep them onside, or at least to avoid really winding them up.
First off check the Staff section on the Boardroom screen and try to make sure you are at or below the Advised numbers for each role. If you have too many staff in a specific role then offer mutual termination to the weakest ones or offer them a different role at the club if you like the look of their stats. The board will get annoyed if you ignore their guidelines here and they will block new staff if they feel that they are not required.
The Confidence tab gives you a really good insight into how the board and fans feel about players, results and everything else to do with your management. Make sure you check it every so often. Another easy way to please the fans and board, or to annoy them, relates to specific players they might feel strongly about. If they hate a player for some reason then I strongly advise you to offload them as soon as possible regardless of how you feel about them. If they love a player then do everything in your power to keep them at the club. Offer long term contracts as early as possible and do whatever you can to keep them happy.
That leads us neatly onto handling players and you’ll find that the new attitude system carries over to player conversations so you can assume a calm manner or you can get fired up and shout at them. You won’t need to have individual conversations very often but they can be useful and there are loads of options from asking for advice on signing a new staff member or player to discussing their match performance or transfer status.
You’ll occasionally want to set up tutoring when one of your coaching staff suggests a good match. An experienced player can have a positive effect on a young prospect.
You’ll also need to talk to players when they have an issue, usually it will be a complaint about a lack of first team football. Try to handle them carefully and be honest or you could end up with a negative influence in your team. Disgruntled players will also complain to the press. If they aren’t in your plans and you don’t see that changing then tell them they can leave the club and just transfer list them straight away. Don’t promise a player first team football and then not deliver or they will make you look bad by complaining loudly to everyone who will listen.
For the most part you’ll handle player relations through your team talks and individual talks can be a good idea to tailor your advice, demands or praise. You’ll also be asked to comment on players in the press. Try to make sure you don’t criticise them or they will become unhappy with you, unless it is justified by poor form and you are trying to fire them up. Some players are sensitive and need constant encouragement, others actually respond better to criticism than praise. You’ll have to learn about their personality to find the best approach (it’s usually praise).
When it comes to contracts you’ll want to tie up your favourite players on long term contracts as early as possible and, as far as you can, deliver on their demands. By trying to extend their contracts early you can also get an idea about any players you might not be able to keep at the club beyond their current contract and then you can decide whether it makes more sense to cash in than to keep them and let them go on a free transfer.
One other handy tool at your disposal for dealing with your players is the option to have a Team Meeting. It allows you to gather them together and discuss overall goals for the team and how you feel things are progressing. It also allows them to step up and voice any concerns they have or encourage each other. This can help your squad morale and togetherness so try to have one when you first take over the team and then again whenever you feel it is a key moment in your season.
There are some players you just won’t get on with. They might have a difficult personality or they might lose confidence in your ability as a manager. If that happens it is really tough to build a good relationship again so I would seriously consider offloading them before the negative impact spreads through your squad. Just be careful that you tell them you are going to do it because many players will start to complain about being forced out of the club if you don’t handle it correctly. You can always loan players out to get rid of them short term, that’s often easier than selling them on.
If you’ve got any Football Manager 2012 tips of your own then please post a comment.