Welcome back to a post I wasn’t expecting to do but after a chat with one of my close friends in the FM Community I wanted to do a separate post explaining some of the things I do on Day One. With this save, where I’m planning a long stint (for me) at one club I want to make sure I am fully prepared to make it as successful as possible. So sit back, relax and enjoy!

So It’s Day One, I’ve gone through the news items, been welcomed to the club, had the meetings and now it’s time to get planning. What I want to do here is talk about just a few things that I do before clicking continue to make sure everything is set. This isn’t everything I do but just some things, maybe a little bit different to others.

The Playing Squad

One of the first things I like do is get an idea of the squad and what their expectations are for playing time, in previous versions it was all about “squad status” but this has now changed to “playing time”. There are now numerous new options to give your players as to the game time they are going to receive.

I love a spreadsheet, I love it as it makes it so much easier to pan things out and get a better idea than just a list of players.

So I have my idea of a tactic and I then plumb all my players into a sheet which looks like this:

So as you can see above each “playing time” has a colour and each player is put into their desired position with the background colour corresponding to their playing time agreement. This then gives me a good idea of a) where the gaps are and b) if I have too many players in the same position who are expecting more game time than I can offer.

It’s also a good gauge as to what my youth teams look like, not all of them are on the sheet, only the ones I feel can make it into the first team at some point.

On the right hand side I have given my expectation as to the % of games I think each “playing time” will be expecting. This is just my opinion and could easily be wrong! Doing this I can then keep check if these players are getting the desired time on the pitch.

So we have a few gaps, these are:

  • RB (back up)
  • RW (first team)
  • ST (maybe 2 as Ibrahim is out on loan)

We have a RW in Wadji but he is banned for 18 months after testing positive for taking morphine!

So these are the 3 positions I need to fill.

I also have an issue where there are probably too many players, especially in the CB and CM that are expecting regular game time. This may need reassessing as I go through the season, anyone who fails to achieve the required game time or become unhappy will need to be looked at.


So I’ve sorted the squad out, the next thing I want to do is get my tactics set. In my squad review post I talked about my tactics, there are a couple of small tweaks but the basis stays the same. I want to play “fluid counter-attacking” football, waiting for openings to hit the opposition on the break. My full backs are good attacking wise and my wingers are decent so I will look to attack the flanks.

I’ve always leaned towards a balances approach of setting my tactics. One attack and one support duty on either wing offers versatility in the way we attack the wings. Also the midfield has a defence, support and attack duty, we have a “holding midfielder”, a “box to box” and a more “attacking central midfielder”

In my head playing counter-attacking football means the players need to have a certain set of attributes, some may call this DNA but I’d rather call it “my requirement to make the tactic successful”. This leads on to spreadsheet number 2!

The Attribute Rater

I’ve looked at the comparison tab and have found what the league average is for each attribute. Now I want to try and make sure each player I bring in has a certain set of attributes above that average, which for this league is around 12-13.

The attribute rater takes my 10 desired attributes to play the style of football I want. Add them together and divides them by 10 to give me an average score. Basic I know but it gives me a base without having to go on a massive scouting mission.

I search for the players based on filters I will talk about in a minute and add them all to a shortlist and then via the “print” option transfer them into my excel sheet.

Above is a little snippet of how it works. I could easily use less attributes but I really want my players to have over 10 in all of them and an average “rating” of over 13. Anyone who has this I will add to a separate shortlist and scout.

The attributes I’m looking for are: Passing, Natural Fitness, Bravery, Strength, Stamina, Decision, Determination, Teamwork, Work Rate and Concentration.


One thing I started doing back in FM18 and have carried on is setting filters per position to be able to search for players easier. The filters are literally what the league average is for each attribute highlighted as required for each position.

I take the average (which is the white line on the above picture) and write each “key attribute” for GK, DF, MF and ST onto a spreadsheet (yes another one!), I also do this for FB’s and WG’s but use my knowledge to alter the key attributes.

Once in the spreadsheet I then go to the Player Search area and create the filters which are then used to search and then scout. Within these filters I also like to add a few other stipulations which this year will help towards achieving the Club Vision. For Haugesund they are “Sign Under 30′”, so I will add “Age -> At most 29”.

So each filter is saved for each position. There’s also “MENTPHY” which is a smaller version of some of the Key attributes I discussed earlier and “The Rater” which is used to build up my own shortlist of players to put into my Rater Spreadsheet.


The final thing I want to talk about is notes. The notes facility on FM has been around for years and you don’t see many use it. As a nearly 40 year old my brain is slowly getting worse and I forget so many things! The notes facility is great as I can save myself some reminders which, on the date and frequency I set pops up in my inbox to say “Oi Dickhead don’t forget this!”

For anyone who hasn’t used it, do it!!! If you don’t know where it is then it’s here:

On your manager home page the Notebook is on the top toolbar

The notes I like to set are:

Training – Both Team and Individual – A monthly reminder for me to see if anyone needs their individual training altered and to set up the next months team training schedules. I tend to set this to remind me on the last day of the month, I can then go into Team training and set up my schedule dependant on the fixtures over the next month. With individual training it’s more a check to see how each player is doing, have they improved? or does it need altering.

Youth Intake – A monthly reminder to tell me to go the “Globe”, click “World” (or the continent, nation if you find that easier), then “Transfers” and have a look to see if there have been any youth intakes and to give them a scout.

This is a more difficult this year with the randomness of each clubs intakes but a monthly check on the above screen shows you if there have been any intakes. It is time consuming, especially as you have to trawl through every player, but it’s always handy to look just in case there’s a hidden gem!

Mentoring – A 3 monthly reminder to look at the mentoring and see if anything needs changing. You do get a new news item “Mentoring Monthly Review” but I find looking at it each month is too much, the news item just tells you if anyone has gained any traits whilst being mentored. Setting it to 3 monthly means you can have a look through each group and see if the players have been helped or if it needs altering.

Playing Time – A monthly reminder to check out the happiness of the teams playing time. Within my squad view I’ve set I have the following to easily view how it’s going:

  • Agreed Playing Time
  • Actual Playing Time
  • Playing Time Happiness

For me keeping players happy with their playing time is one of the most important things for keeping morale high. You don’t want players constantly moaning about lack of game-time, by keeping a regular eye on their happiness it means you can either a) alter their status to something that better reflects their playing time, this could make the players unhappier though as you’re basically telling them they aren’t good enough, or b) Give them the playing time promised, by using the Squad Builder spreadsheet I spoke about earlier I should never have anyone complaining as I know straight the way the % of games each player should expect to play, but as in any save things change and things need to be assessed.

So that’s four of the things that I like to do on Day One. Like I said before it’s not everything but it’s some of the things that I feel are a little different to others. Some may call it over-kill but I like this approach, with me planning and preparing in this way it means the save should go to plan…..or at least I hope!

Anyway thanks for reading. My Season One review post will be out early next week! Until then I hope you enjoy the read and I’d love to know how my readers approach the first day at a new club.