Football wouldn’t be the game it is today if it wasn’t for the culture that’s passed along and the memories we have of the greats of the past. Whilst people always like to talk about the young stars that are on their way in, it’s only possible for them to tread the path to greatness thanks to the stars that came before them.
To recognise this, clubs take all sorts of measures. The President of FIFA recently suggested that every country name one stadium each after the legendary Brazil striker Pele. Clubs regularly name stadium stands and training and youth facilities after great players who have come through the club.
However, sometimes it’s nice to show that recognition whilst the player is still active! Testimonial matches offer an opportunity to show a player how much they mean to the club and for fans to connect with the player on a dedicated occasion.
For many of us, it’s just as easy to get attached to the players we manage on Football Manager as it is in the real world. Testimonial matches in-game can let you pay homage to a real-world player whose career twilight you’ve overseen or to a whacky regen that you’ve nurtured into your favorite player.
Let’s have a look at what testimonial matches are all about in Football Manager.
What are testimonial matches in Football Manager?
Testimonial matches are friendly games played out between the team you manage and a side made up of usually former (but sometimes current) teammates of an experienced player. There may be other participants to make up the numbers that relate to the celebrated player.
Unlike other friendlies, testimonial matches do little to improve your team’s reputation or increase revenue. They’re also played at a much lower intensity than other friendlies so will do less for your fitness than the standard pre-season run out but their certainly not going to do any damage to your team’s health.
Playing a testimonial will result in a news piece going out that covers the player’s career and what he’s done to deserve such an ovation. This will include things like his trophy haul, the number of appearances and goals for the club and how long he’s been playing for the side. The result of the game is almost irrelevant, but the news piece that you’ll find in your inbox will include the names of players that participated in homage.
A player’s general experience is usually not enough to earn them a testimonial. It requires a connection to the specific club for the match to be arranged.
The exact criteria can vary between countries, but it normally requires a certain number of years spent at the club or minimum number of appearances.
In the UK, for example, a player must have been at the club for 10 years to earn a testimonial, although if they’re averaging out a very low number of games a year then such an occasion might not be possible. One of those classic Chelsea youngsters that stays out on loan until their late 20s, for example, is very unlikely to get a testimonial match!
Someone spending years at other clubs likely won’t earn them a testimonial when they return to their parent side.
Once the match is played out you may receive some relationship boosts between players or between the club and the player. Someone who had a testimonial match played in their name is more likely to move into or up the favoured personnel – icon – legend ladder in the club rankings and the player will become more likely to see the club as a favoured club in their personal profile.
All players participating are more likely to go into one another’s favourite personnel category too, with all links to the celebrated player being particularly improved.
The Club info page lets you see who’s made it into your club’s hall of fame
Let’s have a look at how you can make one of these celebratory, relation-boosting friendlies happen.
How do I arrange a testimonial match in Football Manager?
Here are the 5 main steps for you to arrange a testimonial match with any player.
Manage the right player
First, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got someone to celebrate! If you’re coming into a new save, then any possible testimonials are often already arranged and you can actually cancel them on the fixtures screen if you want to set up your own occasion.
If there’s someone newer that you’re hoping to celebrate, make sure they’ve got enough years under their belt and appearances to their name to be eligible for a testimonial match.
Go to Fixtures
When you’ve got some ready to pay homage to then click on “Schedule” on the left-hand menu. This will take you to an overview of upcoming events such as training camps and competitive and non-competitive matches.
Look out for spaces in your schedule to keep your workload balanced.
Select a date
Keep an eye out for emptier parts of your calendar. If you’ve got league and cup matches coming thick and fast then you probably don’t want to cram in another 90 minutes and overload your players.
In most cases, you’ll want to use the pre-season for your testimonials as you can cancel other friendlies and players’ workloads won’t be so intense. It’s true that testimonial matches aren’t that taxing but they can disrupt training and contribute to fatigue if you organise one in the middle of the season.
As such, you can try to look out for pre- or post-season spaces to fit in this special game.
Testimonials are normally light affairs, but most managers stay away from busy periods.
You can find out how a Recovery training session differs from Rest in this article here.
Choose “Use For Testimonial”
Once you’ve found a suitable date, click it on the calendar view. There is an “Arrange Friendly” menu on the right that will have a “Use For Testimonial” option that appears here. If you have any eligible players, then this will be a clickable dropdown list of options.
Pick out the name you had in mind and hit “Confirm” in the bottom right to finalise your testimonial. It’s that easy!
If the dropdown menu is greyed out here, that means you don’t have anyone eligible and you need to go back to step 1, or a testimonial may already be in place that you’ll need to cancel first to rearrange for your chosen day.
Enjoy the occasion
We can all get attached to players, even in Football Manager. We all play for the journey that we go through and there’s no doubt a player who’s been with you that long has been a part of that journey.
Give them the chance to shine on their own stage and let the fans connect with a hero.
Check a player’s information screen to see if they have any views on the club or other personnel.
And you never know, if they go into coaching or are brought into your staff in some other way then a close bond with the club is only going to help things further.
Testimonial matches can bring something to your club’s future even whilst revelling in the glory of the past!
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