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Football Finances

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Post  fitz on 2019-05-18, 8:41 pm

I enjoy playing the video game Football Manager - have played it off and on for a long long time.

Anyway, I picked up FM19 during a recent sale on Steam and took over as Sunderland manager and got them promoted from League 1 and the Championship in short order - not many of the current squad have survived! This is not a pitch for me to take over even though I am clearly a skilled manager!

Anyway, as I have just been promoted to the premiership I am trying to buy players to help me stay up and I am facing the same problems as pretty much every football club seems to face when it gets to the premier league - it is very difficult to survive until you get an established squad together and doing so tends to cost best part of £100m so the choices are either to be a yoyo club or to spend a ridiculous amount and put the club into all kinds of financial difficulties unless you have owners with very very deep pockets. The board have given me a transfer budget of £30m (very generous) but all the top tier players cost that or more each.

In the real world, Fulham who had a terrible season still spent over £100m last year trying to get the players in they thought they needed to stay up - even a team like Huddersfield spent best part of £100m over the last 2 seasons 

Unless you are in the champions league on a regular basis and have someone bankrolling you it seems like it is near impossible to compete in football any more - people talk about Leicester like a fairytale club - and it was cool to see - but they still spent almost £100m a year for the last 3 years - their balance doesn't look so bad as in that time they sold players for enormous sums to Chelsea and Man City (bought Mahrez for £450k sold him for over £60m - nice bit of business!) but they have still spent enormous sums - and the way those investments are written off is staggering - Leicesters most expensive player in 14/15 was Ulloa - £9m possibly their most expensive ever signing at that point - 2 seasons later he is sent out on loan (where he has been ever since).

Much as I enjoy the game you know deep down that your team is never going to know success on a large scale without pumping tens or hundreds of millions into it (and that doesn't even get into the wages at that level).

I am a big NFL fan and the salary cap system they have is so much better (IMO) - leads to way more parity and the absence of promotion and relegation means it is constantly a level playing field - though I know that its easier to manage with the NFL as there are no alternative leagues the players could move to.

Sorry for the rambling post, it was just the idea of Sunderland possibly getting into the championship that got me thinking - if we did manage to get there - what then? Of course, we have to get there first I know!
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Post  oldblackcat on 2019-05-19, 7:16 am

Ahhh Football Manager, promoted as the most realistic football game as close to the real thing as you can get.Must admit a few year ago I used to play it regular (in the days I actually had spare time) Very Happy

But there's the problem...the most realistic as close to the real thing you can get.I honestly believe it's partly to blame for the quick turnover of managers in the real world.

Why? Well as you have stated you took over Sunderland and have got them promoted quickly from League 1 to the Premier,no doubt using a different formation than Jack Ross probably 4-4-2, 5-3-2 0r whatever and probably signing a few players he couldn't in the real world.On one of the Sunderland sites I occasionally read 4 people played this game as Sunderland manager this season using the existing squad but buying a couple of different players than we did and using different formations.Guess what? They all got promoted! My point here being that when things go wrong in the real world hundreds of fans that play this game honestly think they know better than the manager....The manager dosen't know what he's doing...why are we not playing so and so upfront...we shouldn't have sold...we should of signed...we should play 6 upfront....all because it worked for them on Football Manager and gradually the call for the manager to be sacked in the real world grows.

I'm not saying this is the sole reason most fans think they know better or think they could do better and start to call for the managers head, but I think in many cases it is partly to blame.I mean how did Steve Bruce not win the treble of League Champions,FA Cup and Champions league like me?...see what I'm getting at?

Anyway to answer your question what if we get to the Championship?Well,the one thing I think you can do in reality as you can in this game  is have a good scouting team who uncover the odd gem of a player so called "wonder kids" you can sign... and promising players from the academy that make the first team and improve it.This I believe is the way forward (along with buying a few players with experience to help them along the way).Selling the odd player you have developed also generates the money to do this....Ajax model never mind Dortmund model!.Short term we need cash to buy players until we can implement this fully.I think Stuart Donald and Charlie recognise this and this is why they are looking for someone to invest in the club and take us on the next step back to the Premier.
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Post  Black Cat Kiwi on 2019-05-19, 9:10 am

oldblackcat wrote:Ahhh Football Manager, promoted as the most realistic football game as close to the real thing as you can get.Must admit a few year ago I used to play it regular (in the days I actually had spare time) Very Happy

But there's the problem...the most realistic as close to the real thing you can get.I honestly believe it's partly to blame for the quick turnover of managers in the real world.

Why? Well as you have stated you took over Sunderland and have got them promoted quickly from League 1 to the Premier,no doubt using a different formation than Jack Ross probably 4-4-2, 5-3-2 0r whatever and probably signing a few players he couldn't in the real world.On one of the Sunderland sites I occasionally read 4 people played this game as Sunderland manager this season using the existing squad but buying a couple of different players than we did and using different formations.Guess what? They all got promoted! My point here being that when things go wrong in the real world hundreds of fans that play this game honestly think they know better than the manager....The manager dosen't know what he's doing...why are we not playing so and so upfront...we shouldn't have sold...we should of signed...we should play 6 upfront....all because it worked for them on Football Manager and gradually the call for the manager to be sacked in the real world grows.

I'm not saying this is the sole reason most fans think they know better or think they could do better and start to call for the managers head, but I think in many cases it is partly to blame.I mean how did Steve Bruce not win the treble of League Champions,FA Cup and Champions league like me?...see what I'm getting at?

Anyway to answer your question what if we get to the Championship?Well,the one thing I think you can do in reality as you can in this game  is have a good scouting team who uncover the odd gem of a player so called "wonder kids" you can sign... and promising players from the academy that make the first team and improve it.This I believe is the way forward (along with buying a few players with experience to help them along the way).Selling the odd player you have developed also generates the money to do this....Ajax model never mind Dortmund model!.Short term we need cash to buy players until we can implement this fully.I think Stuart Donald and Charlie recognise this and this is why they are looking for someone to invest in the club and take us on the next step back to the Premier.
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Post  Hieronymus on 2019-05-19, 10:26 am

Great posts here!

Now I have NEVER played Football Manager or any computer game actually. Never had the time when younger, and when I did preferred to read a book rather than play on a computer when I did that all day at work anyway. Now retired and barely have time to read a book now either!

But I spent my professional life as a computer programmer and project manager so do understand why players are generally successful in these games - because the developers program them to ensure success - so players get pleasure from playing, by winning and feeling superior to real-life managers and other game players, and so of course they buy the next game.

A simple economic model that game developers learned a long time ago - if the game is too hard (as in real life) then no one buys it! So (as I am sure most players know) it is computer coding, and not just your knowledge and skills as a football manager (although I am sure they are fantastic of course!) that ensures you get promotion, then go on to win the Premier League and the Champions League every year Laughing

Getting back to the OP main point though; yes, Sunderland desperately needs investment to go on to 'the next level'. Hopefully over 30k gates in League 1, regular sellouts in away allocations, two Wembley appearances in one season and getting promoted to Championship are important signs of our potential to anyone who does not already know what an amazing club we are. Charlie and Stewart are selling all this to their contacts and looking for the best deal for all of us - and I do have faith in them.

But I urge caution too - Short is a billionaire but not like the sheiks from the Gulf, or Russian oligarchs, who really do not care about losing multimillions. A 'Short' type of investor or even a consortium of less rich investors, will likely just take us back were we were only a year ago. The stupidly rich people are the only ones who have the sort of money to guarantee success - and even then maybe they are being found out, hence Man City's impending Champions League ban due to FFP breaches (sorry Sid MCFC!).

If FIFA and UEFA really want a level playing field (is anyone convinced that they do?) then a cap on salaries and total squad spend, ironically just like in Football Manager, is the only way to do it! Very Happy
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