Stupid Questions!

LLM “Stupid” Questions

New to LLM? An old hand with a new problem? No need to be embarrassed, as there’s no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to being a Lower League Manager. If you’ve got a question, see what the wisdom of dozens of other Lower League Managers (LLaMas) have to say about playing Football Manager in the most realistic way possible.

Questions from LLM Newbies

If you’re new to LLM, then you’ll have dozens of questions about playing Football Manager in a realistic way. But never fear – here’s a list of some questions from newbies just like you:

Why can’t I be a part-time LLMer?

LLM is an ethos, not a challenge. If you want to play Football Manager in the LLM way, then you play it in the LLM way. Start at the bottom, play realistically and learn for yourself.

It’s not a matter of having one “LLM Save” and then a game where you’re using tactics forums and the game editor to dominate Europe with Liverpool. You can’t just flick a switch so that you forget your Liverpool knowledge when you’re managing Leigh.

There’s nothing stopping you having an LLM game on the side, but that doesn’t make you a LLaMa. You’re either one of us or you’re not. See the next question for more on the reasoning behind this statement.

I like to play lower league sides and follow most of the guidelines, but I like to read tactics forums. Am I an almost LLaMa?

No. Unfortunately, no such beast exists. You can’t be a player who prefers to play without “tips” (which is ultimately what a LLaMa is) and then read a forum which is all about giving “tips”… they are mutually exclusive. If one day you decide to stop reading those forums and do it all yourself, THEN you’re almost a LLaMa. Only when you prefer it that way, enjoy it more and never want to play any other way will you truly be a LLaMa though.

Before finding out about LLM, I read lots of forums and articles on FM tactics. Does this previous “forbidden” knowledge mean that I have to discard all the tactics I’ve seen written about?

No. You can’t unlearn what you have learned, but being an LLM manager means you shouldn’t read up on Football Manager tactics in the future. If you’re worried though, just remember that the tactics engine will change slightly and your old tipping tactics may not work as well. So you’ll have to learn on the job!

What’s the best/most fun/most challenging team to manage?

We’d like to tell you, but that’d be tipping. And LLaMas don’t do tipping. You can ask Paco though – he’ll tell you where you should go. It might be a sleeping giant, or the worst team in history.


But whichever he suggests, he has his reasons…

I’m desperate to manage a team that are currently below Football Manager’s supported leagues. Can I do anything to get around this?

Going on holiday until the team you’d like to manage get promoted isn’t particularly realistic, especially as you may have to retire and add a new manager to get the job you want. It’s not forbidden, but it’s not particularly encouraged.

However, if you want to risk the ravings of the “experimental” LLM community, you might want to look at the LLM-But forum.

What does an “Automatic” reputation actually mean?

It means that you’re assigned the minimum reputation expected of someone managing in your chosen league. Starting as an LLM manager, it means that you’ll be assigned either an “Obscure” or “Local” reputation.

Can I start a game as unemployed and go on holiday for ten years, so I can manage in the future?

Yes. But you’ll need to apply for jobs once your sabbatical has finished. No waiting, quitting and adding a new manager!

I’m a roleplayer. As such, is it OK for me to read tactics forums because my manager “learns from others”?

Ask yourself, is it realistic? In real life, it’s unlikely that you’d be invited to a secret LMA forum, where managers swap tactical knowledge. You’d learn by observing tactics in your game, by testing them out, and by discussing things with your Assistant.

Can I read about real life tactics, and chat about football down the pub?

Of course you can. You might even want to check out Jonathan Wilson’s Inverting the Pyramid. It’s a good read.

Chat about real football all you want, but don’t look for ways to beat Football Manager’s game engine.

Is (whatever) cheating?

“”If you have to ask if you’re cheating, then you very probably are.” (Ancient LLaMa proverb)

OK, the proverb isn’t foolproof, but it’s a good start. If you still aren’t sure, ask one of the forum members. We’ll be glad to give you a hint.

Questions about Your Team

Having issues signing new players, or dealing with the ones that you currently have? The LLM forum has answers for all of your questions about your squad:

I don’t have any scouts. How can I sign players?

You’ll have to use in-game media, such as news reports, staff recommendations or opposition players, and then bring them in on trial for your coaches to look at. Or ask your Assistant Manager to put together a scout report.
Just remember – you can’t use the player search screen. It’s frustrating, but hey! So’s real life. But get a scout.

What’s the LLM thinking on the number of loanees I can have?

You should be reasonable and use your own best judgement. The league’s rules will stop you from overdoing it, but it’s personal choice as to whether you want one loanee, half a squad full or none at all.

Can I turn off real players and go with computer-generated ones? It’ll make me immune to tipping!

You could, but that doesn’t mean you can freely player name… there’s a phenomenon called “the Floodgate scenario” – the casual observer wouldn’t know your players are generated, so he sees naming and just assumes he can do the same… before you know it, people are saying buy this guy, buy that guy, etc. – and the floodgates have opened. So by all means used computer-generated players if you prefer them over the realism of the ‘real’ players – it doesn’t affect how you play the game ultimately, but you still can’t name players when discussing your game on our forum.

My FM save has been going on for 20 seasons now, and all the players are computer generated. Is this looked down upon in the same way as starting with computer generated players?

No. The reason LLM players don’t start with computer generated players is that it’s unrealistic. After 20 years or more, it’d be unrealistic to expect there to be many real players left.

My PC just exploded and I lost years of progress on my save. Can I sign players from my previous save?

No. Your new save takes place in a different gameworld, so you need to start with a clean save. No signing players from an old save, or that you remember from the last edition of Football Manager. Send your scouts out, and hope that they’ll make you happy.

At the end of a year, in-game media release a list of released players. Is it OK for me to search through it for potential signings?

There’s no reason not to. Although it’s very time consuming. And ask yourself this – if your scouts haven’t picked up on these free agents, just how good can they be?

If I have a ‘Favourite Team’ set in my save, does that mean my in-game persona knows enough about that team’s players to buy them?

No. You’ll still need to get your scouts to check a player over once you’ve become aware of them through in-game media. By subscribing to a team’s news articles, you’ll become aware of players pretty fast, so it won’t present too much of a problem.

Can I have a player on a full-time contract for my semi-professional team?

If your board allow it, you can. The issue is that your coaches will be part time, so your player won’t have anyone to train him during those extra hours. And remember, too many full time staff will cripple your amateur or semi-pro club’s finances.

I need money to sign new players. How can I make a profit? Can I set up a friendly league against Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea? How about signing hundreds of free players and selling them on?

Read a newspaper. Very few football clubs make a decent profit, so being skint is a fact of life for any lower league manager. Try getting promoted though – that sometimes helps.

Questions about Your Staff

From your trusty Assistant Manager to your back-stabbing Chairman, no LLM player can afford to ignore his club’s staff. So if you’ve got any questions about them, you’ve come to the right place:

Can I use backroom advice to hire staff, or does it have to be through the job centre?

You can use recommendations from your staff to bring in new faces. Assuming that you trust the advice that you’re getting…

I’ve just hired a foreign physio, but no work permit issues have been flagged up. Should this be an issue?

It should be, but it isn’t. SI may address this in a future game though.

Questions about Jobs

Welcome to the managerial merry-g0-round. You’ll be lucky to last a week as a football manager, so here’s what you need to know about getting a new job:

What happens if the team I’m managing gets relegated from the lowest playable league (e.g. from the Conference North/South in England)?

You get sacked. The team becomes unplayable and you become unemployed.
Luckily for you, the teams promoted to replace you tend not to have a manager. So you’ll have a few new jobs to apply for.

I’ve just started a new job. Is there anything to stop me from approaching my old backroom team?

Generally in an LLM save, you need to place job adverts for new backroom staff. However, much like with your old players, it’s considered realistic to approach people you’ve worked with before.

What is the extent of the ‘research’ that can be undertaken when deciding whether to apply for another job/accept an approach from another club?

This has to come down to your personal judgement. The first thing you should ask is this:

“Is the new position a better opportunity for me?”

After that, it’s down to you. Checking the league position, club history, board expectations and the division that they’re in are things that you’d be foolish not to do. But when it comes to player attributes and wages, that may be something you want to leave until the “first training session” once you’ve signed.

Think of it in terms of an interview. A prospective employer will show you around the premises, but they’re unlikely to discuss the entire company budget with you.

If my club goes into administration, will I automatically be sacked?

No. But there’s no guarantee you won’t be.

I’ve just won the second tier,  but I haven’t been promoted because I’m not allowed to play in the same league as my side’s “parent club”. What can I do?

Not much, unfortunately. You’ll have to find a new challenge elsewhere if you want to manage in the top flight!

I’m thinking of moving to a new league. Is there a way of judging whether a move is “acceptable”? After all, it can’t be realistic to move from AFC Wimbledon to River Plate?

Again, it’s down to personal judgement, but the “star” ratings of leagues in FM11 should provide a good starting point. After that, put yourself into a fan’s shoes. If you were a Sheffield Wednesday (English Third Tier) fan, would you be happy about your new manager if he’d only managed in the Bulgarian Second Division?

International Management Questions

International management should be the pinnacle of your career, but unfortunately Football Manager doesn’t handle it too well. So here’s the answers to the questions that’ll have you tearing your hair out. Do I not like that:

Can I manage a club side and an international side at the same time? For example Norn Iron and Fiorentina?

It’s not very realistic, but given how terrible FM is when it comes to international management, you should probably bend the rules of what’s realistic and what isn’t – if only for your own sanity.

I’m managing an international side and a club side. Can I use my club scouts to judge potential international call ups?

You’ll probably need to, as international management isn’t Football Manager’s forte. Your National Pool should help, but it’s entirely possible that you’ll have star players missing from that list, in favour of 38 year old journeymen.

As with most things in LLM, you’re going to have to rely on your best judgement. All we can say is, good luck!

I’ve been offered an International Job, but I can’t see how much they’re paying me. What can I do?

Not much. Blame SI.

Questions about Football Manager’s Game Mechanics

No, we’re not telling you how to beat the game. But we will answer a few of the questions that FM’s game engine has thrown up:

The league I’m playing in doesn’t seem to have any reserve or youth games. Have I missed something?

Probably not. Many lower leagues don’t run specific reserve and youth leagues, and some may have one or the other. If you’re desperate to play reserve games, you can try to arrange friendlies. But keep it realistic.

Am I obligated to start a game with the latest possible data update?

Not at all. Your game starts before the January transfers, so there’s no need to take these into account.

I’ve just lost on penalties, yet the game has sent me through to the next round of the cup! What do I do?

Tricky one. If you can reload to the start of the match, do just that. But if reloading will wipe out half a season, you’re going to have to chalk it up as one of those things. Sort It Out SI!

Can I preset Opposition Instructions in the Tactics screen?

No. Blame SI.

What is the purpose of loading ‘View Only’ leagues?

View Only leagues provide detailed results at a fraction of the system resources. It means that teams and players in the view only league will be handled realistically, but without taking up too much processor power.

My wife/the cat/the electricity board has just wiped out my PC mere seconds after the greatest victory in my club’s history. Can I keep replaying it until I win?

Unfortunately not. You’ll need to replay it once and accept the result. And our deepest commiserations.


For more “Stupid Questions” see the thread on our forum.