Massive thank you to all who took their time to read the first part of my series. Response was fantastic and I can’t wait to finish this series and delve into some other content that I love.

Maximise Sporting Success.

Organisational Structure

Having a solid foundation and clear hierarchy undoubtedly enhances workflow efficiency. While some positions may seem redundant or unnecessary, they contribute significantly to the realism and immersion aspect of the game. Feel free to omit these details if they don’t resonate with you, but they do play a vital role in creating a comprehensive and immersive experience.

Let’s break it down and give some info on each position.

Owner – No control. Son of a…

CEO – No control over this and they have the option to fire you. Another son of a…

Manager: As the manager, we operate directly under the CEO, a structure that is becoming increasingly uncommon. We oversee all on-field activities and have a significant say in the major heads of each department, often making final decisions. Additionally, we handle possession training.

Sporting Director: Responsible for all off-field operations, the sporting director oversees recruitment, manages player and staff contracts, handles staff hiring and firing, and oversees transfer outgoings. They may also be involved in scouting tasks.

On field

Ass Man – Responsible for reporting on training and overseeing a specific training area. For example, Ricardo Carvalho, known for his exceptional defending skills, serves as our head defending coach. Under him, we have the head coaches and their staff, managing the remaining training areas.

Technical Ass – While not yet available in FM24, the Technical Assistant, known as the

“Airpod man,” is becoming increasingly common in modern football setups. This role extends beyond that of the head performance analyst and has responsibilities such as opposition tactical analysis, advising on gameplans and player improvements, and providing real-time data during matchdays (I like to imagine the ratings and conditions are from our Tech Ass). They are often regarded as the “brains or eyes” of a football club. In FM23, we could emulate this role by assigning the head performance analyst to scout opposition, provide analysis on our team and opposing team and provide strategic insights. However, in FM24, we can no longer use him for scouting, so we have one scout underneath him.

Head of First Development – A role that doesn’t really do much in FM, but it does add realism. I just assign a coach to give me reports on development of our first team. 

Off field

Head of Medical – Our head physio with a fancy name. Under him is the most useless thing since the walking sleeping bag.

Club doctor. Can’t fire them, cant assign him to different things, he decides what requires a club doctor, what isn’t. Strange role.

Head Physio” (2nd best physio you have)and their staff, and head sports scientist and their staff.

Analyst Manager – Usually your best data analyst. As most of your performance stuff is with our technical assistant, the recruitment and data analysts are housed here.

Chief Scout – Sits on top of our extensive scouting network. Will expand on this down below.

Academy Director – As our Head of Youth Development, the Academy Director oversees our most crucial asset, Beckenham Palace. Reporting to the Academy Director are the Head of Academy Recruitment, the Head of U21 Development (U21 Manager), the Head of U18 Development, and the Elite Talent Manager (Loan Manager). Further details on how these roles interconnect will be discussed in the Youth Pathways section.

Extensive scouting network

My scouting philosophy revolves around resource efficiency. I prioritize targeting areas renowned for

producing and nurturing talent, focusing on 100% coverage in these regions rather than spreading resources thinly across smaller areas. I’m fine with missing out on the Iranian Messi that appears every 10 years. A prime example is France, where scouting the French leagues and youth setups allows us to leverage strong affiliations with clubs in the African continent, saving time, money, and resources. Similarly, other countries also serve as hubs for talent development, including:

Germany – Turkey, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria.

Netherlands and Belgium – Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Scandinavia.

England – Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland

The key areas we target are the big 5 leagues, domestic areas, as well as Portugal, Netherlands,

Americas and Balkans. You can see we have regional heads too. This is so we can filter our selections through channels, so we are left with 1 unified list in each required category. My default settings are:

– min CA/PA 1 star – 3 star

– ongoing assignment.

– I use leagues, not countries, when applicable.

– U19 is set at 15-17. U21 15-19. Rest is 18-28.

Our shortlists are as follows:

Sweeper Keeper

Aggressor

Anchor

Builder

Orchestrator

Outlet

Roamer

The Boss

Americas

Europe

Domestic

Domestic Youth

Elite Talent

Academy Recruitment

Academy Scout

 

Let’s illustrate how our system works.

  • Our German league scout provides an initial list of 47 players.
  • We dismiss 23yr+ who have CA/PA less than 2/4 star.
  • We dismiss any 15-23 who have less than 4 star PA.
  • Due to Brexit rules, it’s impossible to sign foreign newgens/wonderkids under 18. We also must

be picky with the U21’s we do sign as we can only have 6 per season. So, we move the 15-18 to

the Elite Talent shortlist. More on that later.

  • If there are “sure things” we directly list to The Boss, who is our Chief Scout. The “not sure”, we send to the Head of Europe.
  • Head of Europe will re scout for 1 week and decide to either discard or send to The Boss.
  • The Boss will scout, sometimes with our Sporting Director (or even ourselves if were keen on watching a game, specifically if the player is involved in a international competition)
  • Players who get the tick of approval from The Boss get sorted into their positional shortlist ready for our recruitment process when required. These guys get scouted again yearly.
  • Positions or players we want to target, we create a new shortlist for that window. For example, 24-25 Winter Transfers

In domestic scouting, particularly in Scotland and England due to Brexit rules, we adopt a more vigilant approach. To ensure comprehensive coverage of available talent, I lay “The Weed Mat” with separate assignments for U18, U21, and both leagues, focusing on age groups 15-17, 18-21, and 22-28. Our Academy Recruitment team also works behind the scenes, utilizing various techniques which will be discussed in the next section.

 

The Academy – Beckenham Palace

Little play on words there. I was chuffed. Academy building is likely everyone’s favourite pastime in FM. Every March feels like Christmas and I can’t remember how many hours I’ve lost from telling myself “Just 10 more minutes, Youth intake should be any day now”.

In my experience, the crucial elements of building an academy are time, effort, and a deep understanding of its workings. I won’t claim to be an expert in this area; rather, I’ve learned from the best, as detailed in this. Additionally, I’ve incorporated my own approach, focusing on structuring the academy to provide clarity, establish defined processes, and create clear pathways for player development.

The initial step is to define the philosophy regarding youth development at your club. In my case, it leans heavily towards nurturing young talent. However, your philosophy may prioritize acquiring only the best talent, focusing on developing youth players to generate revenue, or adopting a combination of approaches. Our primary objective is to bolster the first team with homegrown talent, enabling self-sufficiency. To enhance our chances of success, we draw inspiration from Cruyff, as detailed in his suburb document. Here are our guiding principles, influenced by Cruyff.

 

  • Youth teams have the same formation/playing style.
  • Youth teams are limited spots to only have the best options available. 20 players max. Must have at least

 

  • 2 GK
  • 3 Aggressor, at least one of each foot.
  • 2 Anchor’s
  • 3 Orchestrator’s
  • 3 Outlet’s, at least one of each foot
  • 3 Roamer’s
  • 2 Best of the rest. 
  • Youth teams follow excellent TIPS LINK training schedules.
  • Players in the youth system must spend at least one year in each system before progressing to the next unless they are identified as exceptional talents. This ensures that first-team players are a minimum of 18 years old.
  • The U21 team focuses on individual training and mentoring to foster player development.
  • Each player is required to achieve specific benchmarks annually to “graduate” to the next level of development.
  • Training rating
  • Growth
  • Performance and advanced metrics for their nominated position.
  • DNA

Now populating our academy, we get from 4 different sources. Our youth intake, scouting assignments, national team scouting and academy scouting.

First two are self-explanatory. Let’s talk about the other two.

National Team Scouting

This one is a bit different, which I think most people have been doing for a while. This is how I do it. 

For the major countries like England, France, Spain, I’d do both U18 and U21’s.For minor countries like Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, Netherlands, most of the time U21’s is fine, if you wanna do U18, be my guest. 

For minor countries like Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, and the Netherlands, focusing on U21 players generally suffices, although U18 scouting is also acceptable if preferred. My criteria for U18 scouting includes players aged 15-17, while for U21 scouting, I consider players aged 15-19. All selected players are added to the Academy Scout shortlist and scouted for one week by the 3 scouts assigned to the academy. Players with a PA below 4 stars and Determination below 12 are discarded. The scouting process is repeated until a satisfactory shortlist is compiled, allowing for the discovery of hidden gems. Additionally, players with promising attributes but foreign or unavailable for purchase are added to the Elite Talent shortlist.

Academy Scouting

Academy scouting involves evaluating the academies of various domestic clubs. Just like in real life, domestic academy poaching is a very real thing and is the first point of call when signing academy players. Come youth intake month, we go to the World Transfers page>Youth Intake. I start looking for clubs in countries that are a part of my strategy above and all domestic clubs. All players that show up here we add to our Academy Scout shortlist. Assign our scouts like above and we repeat the process.

Now my thing with DNA is a little different with youth players. I use the most important parts of my DNA and double it for players coming into my academy. For me, the most important elements of my club’s DNA are Technique, Work Rate and Decisions. We give a 2x for these.

Elite Talent Program

As previously established, the talent gap between PL2 and the EPL is considerable. Following in the footsteps of Manchester City, who introduced the Emerging Talent program, we recognize its significance both in real life and in Football Manager. While setting up such a program may take time for smaller clubs, it serves as a pivotal component in the development of youth players and in attracting promising talents who may not yet be ready for the first team but are too advanced for U21 football.

The structure of the program involves academy graduates and signings, being sent out to loan using our expansive network. 

Here are some key considerations:

  • Ensure that players are sent to clubs where they will have significant playing time, ideally as starting players.
  • Choose clubs that play a similar style of football to our own, facilitating a smooth transition for the players.
  • Assign a scout to the program to monitor and scout players identified in our primary assignments. This includes not only academy graduates, but also other players with significant potential who may not be ready for first-team action.
  • Maintain a shortlist of U18 players who cannot be signed immediately but are monitored closely for eligibility. Once eligible, they may not fit our club’s requirements but could be valuable assets for our affiliate clubs. The same graduation criteria apply to these players.

By leveraging the Elite Talent program and our affiliate network, we can ensure that players receive the necessary development opportunities while also maximizing their potential contributions to our club or affiliates.

Affiliate Network

Setting up an effective affiliate network is a crucial component of a club’s long-term strategy, offering numerous benefits and opportunities. Here’s how I typically structure mine and what I prioritize:

 

  • Mid-Table Clubs in the Netherlands and France: These leagues offer extensive scouting networks in smaller countries, providing access to talent that might not otherwise be available. Additionally, the high youth ratings in these leagues influence the quality of regens generated for our own youth team. Look for clubs with competitive leagues and affiliations in obscure countries, which can be more cost-effective compared to leagues in Spain, England, or Italy.
  • Brazil and Argentina: Despite being expensive and competitive, affiliations in these countries are invaluable due to the high-quality talent they produce.
  • High Population Countries: Establish affiliations in countries like India, China, USA, or Russia.
  • These affiliations not only provide access to youth talent but also offer opportunities for marketing and expanding the club’s global reach.
  • Lower Domestic Leagues: Consider affiliations in lower domestic leagues where your club competes. This allows for access to more domestic talent and provides additional loan coverage for developing players. Aim for leagues that align with the level of competition you desire, with U21 levels roughly equivalent to League 2 in England.
  • Ideally, aim for a total of 5-6 affiliations to ensure a diverse network that caters to various strategic objectives and needs.

This is mine 6 years in

Training

Won’t go too heavy into training. I use these packs, while also making sure my coaches are the best that I can afford. 

For individual training,

  • SK – Sweeper Keeper on attack
  • Aggressor – Libero on support
  • Anchor – Libero on support
  • Builder – Libero on support
  • Orchestrator – Roaming Playmaker on support
  • Outlet – Complete Wingback on attack
  • Roamer – Complete Forward on attack

Tbh, not sure on the individual training, this is what has worked for me as I want all my players to be skilful and to be able to perform different roles. I”m sure there’s an exact science somewhere.

Staff Development

I personally think it’s worthwhile to put time into developing your staff. Upgrade badges, promote from within. I get a bit excited if one of my staff members gets poached to be a manager as well.

You can easily get a 5 star staff member for a fraction of the cost if you develop within. Every penny counts when it comes to building your club from the bottom.

There we have it. Part 2 of my series is done. Next time we look at how we can implement structure and strategies to have financial sustainability. As always, you can follow me @TacticalFool.

Till next time

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