Unless you’re the kind of scrawny no-mark who starts a save at PSG, one of your top priorities in Football Manager – maybe even your number one – should be raising money. Without a nest egg, your board won’t sanction buying wonderkids, new stadiums, a new pony for the missus and all the other things you need to build one of the game’s superpower clubs. Here, then, is how to make money in FM21.
1. Wheeling and dealing
By far the easiest way to raise money as a manager is in transfer dealings. Buy low, sell high is the mantra here.
When I say ‘buy low’, don’t buy at all is often the most profitable route. Look for players who are approaching the end of their contracts and get them on a Bosman. This means being well ahead of the game, often getting ready to offer them contracts on 30 December, six months before their contracts expire at the end of June.
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If you get the right players, this can be enormously profitable. In my Jahn Regensburg save, for example, I got Liverpool striker Layton Stewart on a free and sold him at the end of the same season for £46m. I sold two other players, a year after getting them on a free, for £26m and £11m respectively. The key is to then reinvest that money in young players or more free transfers that you can sell for a profit at a later date.
Don’t be precious about selling players. Everyone has a price. A replacement can almost always be bought more cheaply, on lower wages. Click here for advice on how to sell players for maximum value.
2. Watch the wage budget
Blowing the wage budget is a quick way to financial ruin – especially when you’re attempting to convince those lovely free transfers to join you. Here are my golden, don’t-break-’em rules on the wage budget:
- Always stay at least 10% below the wage budget. If you’re tight to the budget or overspending, the board will almost always crimp the percentage of transfer income you get for the transfer budget, limiting your ability to raise transfer funds. It can also prevent you offering deals to end-of-contract players. If you’re tight and you have transfer budget in the kitty, move it into the wage budget with the Adjust Budgets option.
- Avoid clauses in contracts that give players automatic wage rises at the end of the season. These can easily wipe out any wage increase a board gives you and prevent you from signing new players.
- Never in a month of Tuesdays agree to clauses that automatically match the wages of the highest earner in the club. These can shoot massively holes in your wage budget. I don’t care if it’s the only way to get Lionel Messi to Lincoln City, don’t do it.
- Don’t put 30-somethings on long-term deals just to get them to re-sign. You should ideally be selling players once they’ve peaked at 27 or 28 anyway, but if you’ve got old timers knocking around that you want to keep for a season, don’t agree to a three- or four-year deal. You will never be able to get rid of them.
3. Don’t neglect the facilities
As you’re blasting your way up the leagues, it’s tempting to throw all your money into the playing squad, just to compete. Big mistake. You need to make sure you’ve got a stadium that’s decent for the level you’re playing at or trying to reach. If the board don’t instigate this themselves, you need to beg them to do it in the Club Vision menu. Do not take no for answer. Threaten to remove a finger of each of the chairman’s children until he agrees to move you.
Stadiums normally take two to three years to build, so this is something you can’t afford to delay. Once you’ve got a new soccerbowl, it should eventually pay for itself in the form of increased gate receipts and corporate income. If you keeping going up with a shoddy stadium, not only do you miss out on that money, but you may find parts of the ground closed (if it still has standing) or you’re forced into an expensive ground share.
4. Glamour friendlies
It’s not as easy to do as it once was, but if you’re a lower league club one great way to make money in FM21 is to bag yourself a friendly at one of the big boys in pre-season. You want to play away from home, unless you’ve got a massive ground, to maximise attendance. But check the fees receivable carefully before agreeing to any friendly. One way to get these friendlies is by becoming an affiliate of a big club, even if it means having to take their terrible kids on loan each season. Try and book these friendlies in the early part of pre-season as there’s a good chance you’re going to take a hiding. Put winnable friendlies in towards the end of pre-season to recover morale before the serious games start.
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