Uncle Ron’s England Levels 7 and 8 Review by Dr. Hook

Uncle Ron’s England Levels 7 and 8 – Southern, Northern & Isthmian Leagues

Adds: Zamaretto, Ryman’s, and Evo-Stik premier leagues and first divisions for a total of 9 added leagues. In addition there are county cups, league cups, and extra rounds for the FA cup/FA Trophy. FA ground grading requirements are also present, with the only one missing for the English pyramid the Championship rule of three years to convert to an all-seater, which apparently the competition editor does not allow.

Can be downloaded at: http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/234209-FM2011-Uncle-Ron-s-England-Levels-7-and-8-Southern-Northern-amp-Isthmian-Leagues

Yes, I know – the Editor’s Hideaway <shudder>. There is a link to the actual file in the thread, but going through the SI portal is recommended because Ron has put the readme and other information about the add-on in the thread.


I have used this update for a long-term (over 20 years) save on FM 10, and have started a save on FM 11. To date I have discovered no weirdness or oddities—things have worked as advertised in terms of playability. The accuracy appears dead-on; fixture lists are appropriate and finances look good.


This update is, in my book, non-cheaty, in that it activates leagues whose teams are, for the most part, researched already by SI. No players or staff are added to the database, nor does it appear any of the club info has been tampered with (with the exception of leaving Ilkeston in the BSS so that the league structure operates correctly with regard to promotion/relegation).


Game balance seems fine over the long haul. Again, we are dealing with clubs that are already in the game that will sign players anyway. It requires the use of load all players from England to populate the leagues, and while this does overweight English players in the game, the vast majority of them are rubbish anyway, and does not tilt the game at the upper levels.


Pros: True LLM! The finances, grounds, player pools are crap, just as you’d like them to be. The satisfaction of climbing (or attempting) to climb those extra two rungs on the ladder is good FM fun. County cups etc. are nice as well, being a vital revenue stream for clubs with finances that are teetering on the brink in most cases. There are lots of places to find work for the crap manager, and its nice to see teams tumble down or rise up. In my FM10 save, Tranmere landed in the Northern Premier 1st division, whilst FC United made it to the Championship.


Cons: County cups etc., if you think cups suck arse, because you will play a lot of them. For instance, in my current save I am in the FA Cup, FA Trophy, Northern League Presidents Cup, Northern League Challenge Cup, played in the Peter Swales Shield, and am about to play the first round of the Durham Challenge Cup. Also, as you climb the leagues, you cannot withdraw from the county cups or assign your reserves. Your board will no longer care what happens in them, and I found it a simple matter (if a bit of a pain) to select a reserve/youngster squad to play those matches once I hit the Football League. Ron has also made an update without them included, but I prefer to keep them in. Also, be aware that a few of the teams that are activated have not been researched so if you choose one you are likely to get one or two real players/staff, and the rest newgens, who look to be absolute crap. If this bugs you, just browse the club before selecting it to make sure.


Other issues that are not related specifically to the update are typical SI things which might appear a bit more glaring using this. For instance, FM does not really reflect the local/regional flavor of English lower leagues, so it is not uncommon to see a Evo-Stik D1S side, say, sign players released from Irish or N. Irish leagues. As this is a problem even in the BSN/BSS, it is not overly troubling; I don’t do it, but the AI will. Secondly, because there is a fixed range of CA/PA that FM uses, the players can only be so rubbish before they can’t get any worse. Tier 8 is probably right on that line, so it seems that a decent squad in the 8th tier will be decent in the 7th as well. Then again, this might well be the real-life case anyway, and that there is not much of a talent gap between the divisions.


Review by Dr. Hook, 17th March, 2011


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