I’ll be totally honest; when I thought about coming back and writing an FM related blog, I didn’t think the first one in a number of months would be to tell you all about a spreadsheet I’ve made. Hardly punk rock is it? But, having spent an hour or so thinking of a practical way of solving my FM finances, and after some pushing from Guido and alike, I’m convinced that sharing this silly little tool maybe of some use, hopefully…
Introduction: what has excel got to do with it?
I think that in Football Manager, especially for new comers to the game, it is very easy for a club to get out of hand financially. It’s a game that does require some forward thinking, especially if you’re in the save for the long term, and especially if you want to avoid the dependency on large cash injections to keep yourself afloat.
There are many ways to run a club, and many ways to enjoy the game, but I perhaps find the notion of financial prudence, alongside long term strategic recruitment to be the most enjoyable…but then, I’m a bit of a geek. Whether you’re taking a lower leagues club to the top, or trying to regain past glories with an old, fallen giant, getting your finances in order and future proofing your club equals a solid foundation to build upon.
In my current save titled “Started from the bottom now we’re here”, I, a self-styled journey man started unemployed, and rose through the ranks of the football league, taking Bradford City to the Championship, before winning the Newcastle United job. In doing so, I’ve employed an overachieving tactic, a good recruitment strategy, and a strict wage and transfer cap that has stopped me being overblown financially, and to keep growing. The latter two have been down entirely to my magic excel spreadsheet (honestly, this is proper geeky, really), which identifies areas of overspending wage wise, and sets clear parameters for my transfer spending. I present it to you, now, in its entirety (sorry).
The document is broken down into three categories;
- A 25 man squad overview; a breakdown of your squad, positionally, along with their team status, current wages, and their contribution to your home grown lists.
- A transfer window planner; a table that allows you to plan your future windows, who should be sold, your ideal fee, how much of that fee you actually get to spend, and a budget percentage allocator, that you can split between the crucial positions you need to spend on in the next window.
- A wage cap generator; a form that gives you the highest amount you can be spending on wages per week on your Key Players, First Team, Rotation, etc.
The 25 man squad overview
One of my issues has always been getting the right balance between a good squad, and home grown players. I usually try to keep to a squad of 23 to 25, as I’ve found this is a decent number to give everyone game time. But when it comes to being in European competitions, and home grown rules, it can be a bit of a nightmare working out who I should hold on to in the academy for the sake of fulfilling a quota rule, and who not. That’s where this spreadsheet began, a breakdown of the squad I wanted in the next season.
The columns are split into the 1-25, player positions, and names, home grown and club grown status, and a players status and wages (which is determined by the third section of the document). It’s pretty straight forward to follow; simply fill in the tables with the players you wish to fulfil each position (obviously, change the positions to suite your tactics and team). When checking the homes grown and club grown boxes, this will tally at the bottom of the sheet to inform you of the total number of players you have meeting those criteria’s (handy for planning for European campaigns). The U21 column when filled will automatically discount this player from your final squad count (most leagues don’t have to have U21 players registered).
Finally, the player status, along with their wage count criteria is kept to the right hand side of the table. Simply copy and paste for each player, amending the wages once you have done so (the threshold for the wage cap is determined in the third section, which we will get on to…but in order for the nice green and red colour scheme to work automatically, it is important that you copy the two cells, rather than typing in).
The Transfer Window Planner
Another simple enough table, this time, all cells that you can (or should) edit are in bright yellow. Starting with transfers out, simply input the player you want to move on, a rough idea of how much you’d like to sell them for, any percentages taken away by the board (if you have been given 90% of the fee for a player for your transfer budget, the board takes 10%, etc, just a bit of maths innit), and tallied at the bottom is how much you could raise. Add in the allocation of budget a board gives you at the start of each season, and a total amount of transfer fee is generated.
Next to this is your transfer in table, which takes your total amount, and allocates it between targets depending on how much you want to spend via percentages. For example, as seen above, if I want 50% of my current budget to be spent on a roaming playmaker, that will give me £24m+ to play with. It’s not a perfect model, you won’t always get what you want for players…but this gives you a good idea of the budgets you will be playing with coming into the transfer market and an idea of who you can get for that amount. Of course, you can then amend it later on, should you sell a player, and want to know how much you should be spending on his replacement.
The Wage Cap Generator
Probably the most crucial part for me in this document is the wage cap generator. I want my squad to stick to a strict policy financially, and I want to see where money is being badly spent wage wise. Again, all editable parts are in yellow. Enter your weekly wage budget as allocated by the board, enter how much of a percentage of that budget you want each team status to have (Key players get 25% etc), enter how many of those positions you want to have (4 Key Players, 8 First Team, etc), and watch the formula work itself out. This will generate a top end wage cap for that position…so if you were to spend your entire wage budget, equally, based on the roles status of each player, this would be your maximum allocation.
This then generates the ruling for your player’s wages in the first section. Take Erik Pieters in the following example.
Erik is a First team player, which according to our current finances, means he is entitled, at a maximum, to £57k a week. However, naughty Erik is on £74k, meaning his wage is in red, and we are left with a decision to make on whether we make Erik a key player (which will in turn, put the number of key players up, and drop the top wage for a key player!), or sell him in the future.
If you like what you see, just download from the link above.
I hope you find this tool to be useful. It’s meant purely as an accessory for those trying to either play the game a different way, put certain limitations on themselves in the game, or carry out the challenge of a long term save. I think there is something to be relished in having to make difficult choices over players, and being stringent with how you plan your team.
Until next time, thanks for reading!
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