Over the last few years, more and more people have begun to use more data lead save games on Football Manager. In Football Manager 2023 we even got a new metric added, Expected Assists (xA). This new metric measures the likelihood that a given pass will become a goal assist.
I think anyone who plays Football Manager this way will welcome this addition and likely want other metrics added too. But a lot of us also want to be able to use this data in the way it’s intended. Let me explain further.
In this video (it opens at the correct timestamp) we have Miles talking about data and how they speak to football clubs about how they use the data. More importantly, he also says “But what we’ve done in the last couple of years is spoken to them more about how they are using the data directly from their perspective. And how they are looking at finding players with the data they have rather than how we (SI) can help them find players with our data.”
A little further on he also touches on how over the years as the studio has grown, they have opened this up to everyone and got the entire involved. So every month they interview someone from the footballing world to learn how real-life football works and how this ties into the features they’re working on.
I think this is really good for the game overall and I know that Sports Interactive employs lots of people who have been involved with football at all kinds of levels. This can only be a good thing for driving the game forward and being more in touch with how football works and what the fans expect.
However, on the data front, we are lacking one major thing, historical data. For a game that is driving us more and more toward data and keeps adding new data measures, it’s sad that we still can’t see past data.
The game fails at even the simplest data measurements. We can’t even compare our team from last year and this season without doing it manually and looking back at an older save. There should be some sort of screen/tab in the data hub that allows us to compare our own teams over the years.
I get that space might be an issue and this could slow the game down with the sheer amount of data that they’d have to store and I understand that. But we should at the very least be able to download it manually in a simplistic way and get a quick snapshot overview in-game for it.
There should be a simple export all-data option that we can save as a spreadsheet or something similar. Just so we can access the data. Data is taking over player recruitment for example yet on Football Manager, we can’t really use it for past seasons without extracting all the data ourselves manually.
That task in itself is a really long process and takes hours and hours to extract the data let alone start to process it to identify possible player signings.
It’s not only player recruitment through which I feel we can’t fully utilise the data. I don’t think we can use it enough in Football Manager to compare our own playing styles over multiple seasons either. There isn’t really a screen or information available to track tactical trends, changes in our play, or anything.
There isn’t a direct comparison for us season by season, driven by data, that allows us to see how we’ve progressed/regressed and evolved for better or worse. I think this is one of the biggest letdowns the game currently has. Especially when Sports Interactive themselves are talking about how they’re getting more and more involved with real-life football and talking to the people shaping the real-life game.
Yet most analysts etc will openly tell you that data is long-term yet on Football Manager, data only really serves as a short-term option. It seems more focused on the players now rather than what they might be or what they could potentially offer.
The same with the team data we have, it’s all focused on the now or the past few games rather than the past few years to now or the future.
Overall the addition of data is very welcomed, although you’d perhaps think I was against it based on this article. But all I and others want to do is be able to tap into the potential of what the data could offer and how we use it in-game. It would open up a whole new world and be more in line with how data works in real life.
We spoke to a player recruitment analyst a few weeks back, who gave a great insight into how he works on a daily basis. He also listed some data metrics that he would like to see added to the game at some stage. You can read that interview below;
There are workarounds to save data and extract it from the game that is very time-consuming. I’ll be doing several articles on this over the coming months and you can also check out @FM_Stag who has stuff available on his site about data metrics and extracting the data.
I myself mentioned something briefly on Twitter earlier this month and lots of people asked me if I could write an article about how I extract data for my own players. Now I didn’t think it was worth doing a full article on it, as it’s a simple process. So I’ll include it here it’s very basic and fits the topic above.
Firstly I’d recommend anyone who wants to do a data-driven save game, to keep several copies of the game from the current season. So you have several different reference points if you need them. Lots do this as standard already even when not playing a data-driven game. Create folders for them if you have to, to keep it neat and make it easily accessible if you need to go back and check stuff.
Now extracting my own side and the player’s data it’s simple. You’ll need to get access to some kind of file or image-hosting website. Lots of free services are available like Google Docs, Imgur, or something similar.
Then what I do is go to the data I want to save. Let’s for example say I wanted to save specific data from a certain player. (note there isn’t much data here as I’ve not played, this is just for example purposes)
I’d take a screenshot of this page. Then I’d save it and upload it to whatever hosting service you opted for. Mine was Google Docs. I’d then copy that link to the image you’ve uploaded. Then go to the player profile again. Click on the history tab and then create a note.
It should look something like this. Add a title, something that easily identifies what it is or the date it is for. I also create a category named data and list it there on the right-hand side. As I use the note option a lot, I like development notes, etc.
Then add the link to the big box. You can add several links or more information if you want to. I’ve just kept it simple here. Once you’re happy with what’s there, click confirm at the bottom.
Then it should look something like this
And there you have it, just my quick and simple method of keeping everything together in-game. You don’t have to keep this just for your own players, you can do it for any player, any team, any staff member, etc. I’m a heavy “notes” user on Football Manager.