Du Malone writes: I like football, but I didn’t play it at school. As a teenager I played one match. It was a five-a-side game, seven minutes each way, and we lost 16-0. That tells you what you need to know.

I’m better at watching the game, but am not great at that either. Though FM has made me better. I reckon I can now spot a regista from 75 yards.

So how to succeed, or at least keep one’s end up, at FM?


My solution is 360° club management, by which I mean compensating for the things I’m not good at by attending with care to other aspects — aspects that are often dismissed as boring or trivial.

In future posts I — and my manager, Grigor Pasha, who though he knows a good  deal more about football than I do, can’t really claim expertise — will explore these in depth.

30 Oct 19 Bewdley South
Levers at Bewdley South Signalbox. Photo by jess_k_kent1, generously provided under a CC BY-SA 2.0 licence

But by way of illustrating what 360° management entails, here is a taster menu:

  1. contracts: treating them not as mere admin or expense, but as a way of managing behaviour and achieving outcomes
  2. agents: treating them not as mere parasites — and not regarding all agent fees as money wasted
  3. backroom staff: appreciating the leverage they offer — and seeing them as more than mere bundles of attributes
  4. managing players’ fitness, to enhance performance, reduce injuries, and, ultimately, to reduce squad sizes and hence wage bills) not trusting the board to set the budget wisely and so instead making my own decisions about what proportion of the budget to spend (and not asking for stuff just because I reckon I can get it)
  5. minimising the number of squads and thereby reducing staffing requirements


In addition to the above list, which concerns aspects of the game itself, 360° management requires effective self-management. In particular:

  1. knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, I’m not good at elite levels, so I tend to stick to lower leagues and backwaters
  2. as a corollary to the above point, delegating
  3. learning.

The topic of learning on FM fascinates me. Which means I’ll be inviting you to read more about it!

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