Last updated on February 11th, 2023
If you only manage super-rich teams like PSG, Manchester City or Bayern Munich on Football Manager, you might have never had to worry about your club’s finances.
However, if you love the hardest managerial challenges and are fascinated with the thrills of turning an average team into world champions, you’ll understand how important managing finances on Football Manager can be.
Finances could be the sole reason your favourite English team never makes it out of the National League or why you’re always stuck in the relegation battle every season. Even worse, it could be the reason you lose your job.
In recent times, real-life teams like Derby County and Coventry City have suffered the effects of a financial shortfall. The former was fined a hefty point deduction for going into administration. This resulted in them being relegated to the Sky Bet League One.
The same can happen to you on FM, and you could miss out on the finest wonderkids, struggle with your star players leaving, and potentially face relegation or job loss!
However, improving your finances doesn’t have to be difficult, and in this article, I’ll show you everything you need to know about managing and improving your club’s finances on Football Manager.
How to improve your finances on Football Manager
Being successful in Football Manager is not limited to your on-pitch triumphs. You’ll need to be able to control other aspects of the game like player contracts, task delegations, and finance management.
Without good finances, you won’t be able to fully enjoy the game. Asides from losing out on the best players, both yours and those on the market, you could also lose your job.
Here’s how you can improve your finances on Football Manager.
#1 The Magic of Big Names Pre-Season Friendlies
Most small team managers see pre-season friendlies as the perfect time to check out their new formation, test a bunch of trial players, and build their team’s morale. As such, they will set matches against nearby teams or those in lower divisions.
That’s totally fine.
However, if your club’s financial balance is glaring red or you’re looking to generate income, you’ll have to start scheduling friendlies against more popular teams.
Playing against these teams on your turf is a great way to generate income from tickets.
At the start of every pre-season, the game will recommend teams for you based on reputation. You’ll have a higher chance of securing a friendly with those teams than searching for big teams yourself.
In my five years with Chorley in the Vanarama National League, I tried to arrange a friendly with Chelsea, but my proposals were always denied.
However, I could easily play top teams like Celtic, Rangers, Paris Saint Germain 2 and Monaco 2 as they were all recommended by the game.
You can go to your Homepage, click on Arrange friendly and you’ll see the game’s recommendations.
Moreover, if you’re worried about your team’s morale being poor before the season, you can arrange friendlies between lower-division teams. Personally, for every two matches I schedule with a larger reputation team, I arrange one with a team I know I can easily defeat.
This is mainly to balance my team’s morale.
Although I must warn you, such a high amount of games can leave your players very tired for the season!
You can find out some of the best tactics against big teams here.
#2 Loans, Loans, and Loans
Yes, I’ll just come right out and say it, you don’t need four first-team left-backs in your team!
If we are being serious, you really don’t need three.
Two good first-team options for solid rotation, and maybe a young promising talent to step in, in case the impossible happens.
Most times, the transfer window is already closed when you realise that there are few fringe players you don’t really need. You may have future plans for them, and instead of allowing them to rot on the bench, or placing them on under-18 duties, you should loan them out.
If you are managing big teams in the EPL or La Liga, there are lots of teams in the lower leagues where you can loan your players. Asides from the fees you can charge, these teams also cover the player’s wages for the duration of the loan.
They’ll be gaining experience AND saving you money, an absolute win-win!
However, this would only work for big teams. If you’re managing a lower league team, you’ll have difficulty securing loans for your fringe or young players, and even when the offers come, you’ll mostly have to maintain a huge part of the player’s wage.
#3 Don’t Be Afraid To Let Players Go
I get it; you don’t want to sell that player because he’s your favourite, so you are considering rejecting a very generous offer for him.
However, this is business and unless that player’s departure significantly affects your team’s performance, you should seriously consider letting him go.
Player sales are the fastest way to generate income; a good sale can save your entire club. Some FM players believe that no matter the importance of a player, there’s always a price at which you can let them go. While I don’t fully buy into this mindset, I understand it.
I once had a 20-year-old Regen who was basically the backbone of my team. However, my club’s finances were in shambles, and I was almost a million dollars in debt.
When I received a $375,000 offer for him, I had no choice but to accept it. My team and formation had to be tweaked, but it was alright in the end!
Furthermore, there are cases where you no longer need some players but can’t sell them simply because, just like you, no other club wants them.
Instead of allowing them to run out of their contract, you can mutually terminate it or release them for free. Be careful, though, as you’ll have to pay a compensation fee that’ll be deducted from your transfer budget!
#4 Pay More Attention To Contract Negotiations
Wages are not the only thing you should consider when negotiating contracts. While it’s important that you maintain a solid wage structure, those additional clauses and bonuses also have massive impacts on your team’s finances.
For example, a 150k p/w contract for one of the world’s best stars is not worth it if it comes with a 40k appearance fee. In cup weeks where you play twice, you’ll be paying an additional 80k asides wages.
That’s roughly $2 million annually!
Asides from appearance fees, watch out for goals and shut out (clean sheet) bonuses.
If you end up paying millions on these bonuses, a solid wage structure won’t be enough to save you from financial ruin!
No matter the team you’re managing, it will be good to pay extra attention to contract negotiations.
Some things to watch out for include:
- Agent Fees
- Appearance Fee
- Goal and Shut Out Bonuses
- Annual Salary Increment
- Promotion and Relegation Salary Changes
You can find out more about renewing contracts here.
#5 Destroy Youth Structure
This is a bonus tip for teams without youth aspirations in their club visions or those that continually produce poor youth squads yearly. You can suggest the reduction of youth funding to your board.
This might result in a higher wage or transfer budget.
Your board is more likely to accept your request if youth upbringing is not part of the club vision.
The Bottom Line
Attaining financial stability in Football Manager is not a day’s work. You’ll have to be patient, cautious, and maintain good financial practices.
Slowly, your club’s finances will move from Insecure to Secure, then Okay and Rich.
Very soon, you’ll be able to afford any player in the world!
Just remember, always go for big-name pre-season friendlies, learn to loan your players and accept good bids for them. Lastly, take time and read every single detail of the contract before you agree to terms.
Once your finances have improved, you can consider signing high reputation players to improve your team further!
Are you passionate about football and want to earn some side income?