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The Football Manager Guide v2



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The Football Manager Guide v2

By Aprameya Rao (apthered)

Introduction. 2

New Games. 2

Starting. 2

Loading Databases. 2

Choosing a Team.. 2

Introduction. 3

Scouting. 3

Player Search. 3

Staff Search. 4

Scouting. 4

Free Transfers. 4

Tactics. 4

Making your own tactic. 4

Tweaking it to match your needs. 5

Set Piece Tactics. 6

Training. 7

Making a training schedule. 7

Getting top stars in training. 7

Board Room/Confidence. 8

Club Information Screen. 8

Board Requests. 9

Finances. 9

Pre-Game and In-Game Options. 9

Opposition Instructions. 9

Team Talk. 10

Adding External Utilities to the Game. 11

Logo Packs and Kit Packs. 11

Skins. 11

In Conclusion. 11

Thank You To. 11

Comments/Questions. 11


First of all, I would like to say that this is not all my work and I am not saying that I did it all myself. This is merely a combination of many different football manager guides as well as a lot of input by me tooJ. A full list of all of these helpers/authors of other guides follows this guide and I am very grateful to them. Finally, I hope that you will find this guide helpful. As you may have noticed, it is rather long and please use Ctrl+F (Find) to go the specific section you need. There is also a table of contents to help you.

New Games


To start a new game, open Football Manager and click on the new game button (the left-most button). Then choose a database - if you have not downloaded or created a database, select the default. If you have, choose that one.

Loading Databases

You can either go through the wizard or just click advanced options on the lower left-hand corner. Choose advanced options and then choose the countries you would like in your database (in the left panel), and their lowest leagues in the right panel. If you click on recommended setup then you will get a database that will fit your computer's capabilities. Remember that the more leagues selected, the more RAM you will need. 512MB to 1GB of RAM will allow you to choose about 5-10 leagues with medium level of database and correspondingly less with a higher level. You can also load all players from a country in the bottom panel, where you also select the start date and country and database size. For a greater challenge, disable use real players (you have no prior knowledge of anyone) and/or enable use attribute masking (some attributes from league you are not playing in are masked, you have to scout the players to find out more). For a final challenge, you can enable or disable transfer budgets in your first window, which means that you can only make free transfers/loans in your first transfer window). Then click on start game on the lef 11211e411l t panel.

Choosing a Team

You can once again use thee wizard or manually. Since the wizard is self-explanatory, I will do it here manually. Choose advanced options on the left hand corner, then type your information such as name, date of birth previous experience (no effect on the game), nationality/other nationality and your favourite team. Then choose the team you wish to manage, or start unemployed. If you want to start unemployed, then tick the box and press start. If not, then either randomise your team or choose it via the leagues dropdown on the right side. Then click confirm. Press no for the next box unless you want to add another manager and then save your game.


You will get a message from your chairman welcoming you to the club and another one asking you what you believe your expectations are. Based on that, you will get your transfer and wage budgets for the season. Before you start playing, make sure you analyse your team and your assistant's team report (Manager>Tactics, then choose Get Team Report on the bottom-left).


Player Search

To access player search, click on Manager>Find Players>Player Search

Now to find a good player follow these guidelines on what each position needs to be good at. You can search for these attributes using the customise option in the top-right hand corner. Tick off 'ask assistant to filter out unrealistic targets' so that you don't waste your time. Some excellent free/cheap players are in brackets.


Primary Attributes

Secondary Attributes


Handling, One on Ones, Reflexes, Aerial Ability

Command of Area, Rushing Out, Throwing, Kicking

Full Backs

Tackling, Heading, Pace, Crossing, Dribbling, Positioning, Anticipation

Acceleration, Long Throws, Work Rate, Teamwork, Marking, Bravery, Stamina

Central Defenders

(Sergey Ignashevich is available on a free I the first season)

Tackling, Heading, Marking, Positioning, Strength

Anticipation, Bravery, Work Rate, Teamwork, Concentration

Defensive Midfielders

Strength, Tackling, Bravery, Anticipation, Passing

Long Shots, Heading, Work Rate, Marking, Positioning

Central Midfielders/ Playmakers

Passing, Decisions, First Touch, Technique, Creativity, Long Shots

Dribbling, Free Kicks, Determination

Attacking Midfielders

(Free Role)

Passing, Finishing, First Touch, Creativity, Technique

Composure, Flair, Decisions, Long Shots


(Mika Aaritalo is available for 300k in the first season)

Crossing, Dribbling, Passing, Pace, Finishing

Acceleration, Composure, Creativity, Technique, First Touch

Fast Striker

(Alex Fernandez is available on a free I the first season, he is very good for the lower leagues, just not the Premiership)

Finishing, Dribbling, First Touch, Composure, Off the Ball, Pace

Acceleration, Passing, Decisions, Creativity, Technique

Tall Striker (Target Man)

Finishing, Passing, Heading, Strength, Dribbling, Decisions

Composure, Off the Ball, Work Rate, Teamwork

All primary attributes need to be at least 15 for Premiership level, 12 for Championship, 10 for League 1 & 2 (Use these as a guideline). For secondary attributes, they have to be 12 for Premiership, 10 for Championship, 7 for League 1 &2.

Staff Search

After going to Player Search, on the left panel, choose staff. Use the customise feature to search for the following. Some excellent free/cheap staff are in brackets.

Staff Role

Primary Attributes

Secondary Attributes

Assistant Manager

(Pako Ayestaran is available on a free I the first season)

Tactical Knowledge, Judging Player Ability

At least one coaching attribute, Mental,


At least one coaching attribute

Working with Youngsters, Mental

Youth Coach

At least one coaching attribute, Working with Youngsters

Mental, Level of Discipline

Fitness Coach

Fitness Coaching


Judging Player Ability, Judging Player Potential

Adaptability, Tactical Knowledge




Always keep scouts on areas where they don't already have knowledge of. This way, your club's scouting knowledge will increase and so you will see more players in your player and staff searches.

To do so: Manager>Find Players>Scouting>Choose your Scout>Add New Assignment

You can then filter the search (best results is no filtering, you can find a lot of wonderkids that way) and select the region to scout.

Free Transfers

A lot of the time, players are out of contract or are in their last year/6 months of the contract and you can approach to sign them without any compensation (unless they are based in England). You can search for these players using the player search and choose customise. Then select contract status and choose Expiring, Expired or Unattached. You can also filter Transfer Listed, which means that the players are allowed to leave their club and are generally cheaper than their regular price. At the same time, you can search listed for loan (usually youngsters to gain experience).


Making your own tactic

I am only going to briefly describe each part of the tactic because the best tactic-making guide is here (thank you very much to the creator). Make sure you use player instructions, not just team instructions.

Mentality: How attacking/defensive your team or player is going to play. Team mentality should be around normal and player mentality varies according to position.

Creative Freedom: How much freedom your team has. Use only for players with high creativity.

Passing Style: It is how direct you play. Short means one-touch football and long means long-balls. Better passers and first touches should have shorter passing.

Tempo: Keep it slow with a shorter passing style, and faster with a direct counter-attacking style.

Width: How wide your team plays - if you have out and out wingers, then your width should be very wide. If you have 3 CMs, then you should play narrow.

Closing Down: (Pressing) the more you press the quicker your team tires out. But it is still very effective. Never put under normal.

Time Wasting: Only use when you are protecting a lead in the last 5-10 mins (at full). It determines the amount of time a player spends on the ball.

Defensive Line: Put it deep if you're facing fast defenders and push up if you are winning.

Tackling: Let your best tacklers only have hard tackling. The rest should have either easy or normal.

Focus Passing: Keep it at mixed unless you are playing in a narrow pitch (through the middle) or you play very wide (down both flanks).

Marking: Zonal or Man (or Specific). Try to use Zonal (only my preference) because Man-Marking, though good allows other players (not strikers etc.) to score or come into the attack. They also limit a quick counter attack.

Target Man Supply: Use to head if the target man's heading and first touch is good. Use Run onto Ball if his pace and dribbling is good. And use to feet if first touch and dribbling is good. Also look at Preferred Moves in Positions to check where each player might want the ball (some have it, some don't).

Tight Marking: Use if your not the team favoured to win and if your not defending that well. It uses up a lot of energy though.

Use Target Man: Check only if you have a good partnership between your strikers or if you have a good lone striker who can hold the ball up.

Use Playmaker: Choose only 1 or 2 players and they need to have good passing and creativity. They should be centrally located on the pitch.

Counter Attack: Use if you're the underdog team and use it with a direct passing style + quick tempo.

Play Offside: Play an offside trap if your defenders have good experience with each other and very good positioning only.

Tweaking it to match your needs

Possible Tweaks for some situations:

Conceding Too Many Goals: Use tight marking and closing down

Too many fouls/bookings: Reduce tackling to normal/easy

Players aren't scoring: Increase their long shots and make mentality more attacking

Relegation candidate, losing too many games by 1 goal: Use counter-attack

Players getting in behind defence: Disable playing offside (only use it when your back line has played with each other a lot and has good positioning), bring defensive line to deep or just above deep, use faster defenders

Giving the ball away too much: Change passing style to more direct (use short passing only with good passers)

Set Piece Tactics

These tactics are for both attacking and defending in both set pieces (Corners and Free Kicks). It also covers Throw Ins and Penalties.

Corners - Defending:

·        Tall Defender - Mark Tall Player

·        Short Defender - Mark Small Player

·        Full Backs - On Either Post

·        Strong Striker - Close Down

·        Fast Striker - Stay Forward

·        3 Midfield Players - Man Mark

·        Other Midfielder - Back

·        Goalkeeper - Default

Corners - Attacking:

·        Player with good Corners attribute must take corners

·        Use a right-footed player for corners form the left & a left-footed player for corners from the right (in-swinging corners)

·        Striker with Good Heading - Near Post Flick On

·        Other player with Good Heading - Stand on Far Post

·        Player with Good Strength - Challenge GK

·        Player with good long shots - Outside Area (Make sure his long shots is set to often)

·        Player with good Crossing - Short Option

·        Any player with Attacks ball from Deep in Preferred Moves - Attack ball from Deep

·        2 Full Backs - Back if Needed

·        Goalkeeper - Default

·        Other two players - Forward

·        Put Corners to Near Post

Free Kicks - Defending:


Free Kicks - Attacking:

·        Player with a good Free Kicks attribute (15+) must take free kicks

·        Use a right-footed player for free kicks form the left & a left-footed player for free kicks from the right (shots curl in)

·        Player with good Long Shots attribute - With Taker

·        4 Attacking Players - Forward

·        1 Strong Player - Disrupt Wall

·        Strong Defender - Challenge GK

·        Full Backs - Back if Needed

·        Goalkeeper - Default

·        Last Player (Other Defender/DM) - Back

Throw Ins

·        Player with a good Long Throws attribute should take the Throw

·        They are usually wingers or full backs

·        Left Sided Players - Come Short for Left Throw Ins

·        Right Sided Players - Come Short for Right Throw Ins

·        Player with good Long Shots attribute - Lurk Outside Area

·        Central Defenders - Stay Back

·        Full Backs & Keeper - Default


·        Player with a good Penalties and good Composure attributes should take penalties


Making a training schedule

Again, I am not going to describe it in full detail, but just briefly explaining what training category helps what attribute (Not all attributes are covered). There are some very good training schedules on the net. (I use Tug's)

Strength: Stamina, Strength

Aerobic: Pace, Agility, Acceleration and Balance

Goalkeeping: all Goalkeeping attributes except Eccentricity and Tendency to Punch

Tactics: Decisions, Anticipation, Off the Ball, Positioning

Ball Control: Dribbling, Technique, First Touch

Defending: Tackling, Marking, Heading

Attacking: Passing, Creativity

Shooting: Finishing, Composure, Long Shots

Set Pieces: Free Kicks, Corners, Penalties, Long Throws, Crossing

Workload: Higher workload could cause more injuries. Never put the total workload to Very Heavy or more.

Getting top stars in training

Training Type

Attributes Needed in Coaches

Top Coach


Fitness is 18+

Dave Barron

Claudio Gaudino Pako Ayestaran


Goalkeeping is 18+

Xavi Valero

Richard Hartis


Tactics is 18+

Angel Vales

Giles Rousset

Ball Control

Technical 18, Mental 18 or

Technical 19, Mental 14 or

Technical 20, Mental 10

Donagh Holohan

Jean-Luc Dogon


Defending 18, Tactics 18 or Defending 19, Tactics 14 or

Defending 20, Tactics 10

Juan Santisteban

Pako Ayestaran

Carlos Queiroz


Attack 20 and Tactical 10+ or
Attack 19 and Tactical 14+ or
Attack 18 and Tactical 18+

Justo Lillo

Francisco Seirul.lo

(there is a period)


Tech. 20 and Attack 10+ or
Tech. 19 and Attack 14+ or
Tech. 18 and Attack 18+

Ricardo Moniz

René Meulensteen

Set Pieces

Tech 20, Ment/Attacking = 30+ Combined (20+10, 15+15) or
Tech 19, Ment/Attacking = 33+ Combined (20+13, 17+16) or
Tech 18, Ment/Attacking = 36+ Combined (20+16, 18+18) or
Tech 17, Ment/Attacking = 39+ Combined (20+19, 20+20)

It is very hard to find a coach with top stars in Set Pieces

I know only 2:

Francisco Seirul.lo


Paco Herrera

(Atletico Madrid)

Board Room/Confidence

Club Information Screen

To access this screen choose Manager>Team>Information

Here you know how good your club is in many different departments that can be dealt with board requests:

Stadium Capacity: How many people will fit into the stadium and if there is any expansion going on currently

Training Facilities: with a better training facility, you have a better opportunity for players achieving and maintaining their potential (Top Training facilities is the best)

Youth Facilities: same as above, it will help with the development of your youngsters (State of the Art youth facilities is the best)

Finances: Tells you if you are in any position to make any board requests (with Rich being the best)

You can also find out the following:

Chairman Status: Tells you if there might be a proposed takeover (Loves the club means there is no chance)

Year Founded and Status: Self-Explanatory

Captain/Vice-Captain: Self-Explanatory

Pitch Dimensions/Max. Dimensions: How big your pitch is and how big it can go

Fierce Rivals/Other Rivals: Who you should do a good job against

Squad Average Age: How youthful or old your squad is

Squad Personality: The average feeling within the squad

Favoured Personnel: If you do well, you'll get in there

Board Requests

To get to the board room screen choose Manager>Board Room

During a game you can ask the board for the following:

Expand the Stadium: Do this only if you are constantly filling your stadium and have a lot of money (See Club Information>Finances or Manager>Team>Finances)

Improve Training/Youth Facilities: Self-Explanatory

Request Parent Club: Request a team to get players on loan form. If you have a choice between teams, choose the team that has the best youth academy/reserve team.

Request Feeder Club: Request a team to send your players on loan to, get a work permit for a non-EU player or for financial benefits. You will pay them some money each year.

Request for extra transfer funds/extra wages: Self-explanatory

Make a budget adjustment: You can make an adjustment between the two budgets to satisfy your needs. If you have a very high wage budget then you can make that into a lot of transfer money.

Extra time to rebuild the squad:

A New Contract: Request a new contract so that you can continue as that team's manager

Ultimatum: If the board doesn't agree with your request or is unable to, you can make an ultimatum, which means that either do what you say or sack you. It is very rare for it to go your way. Do not try it!


This screen can be accessed by Manager>Team>Finances (on left panel)

There are 5 parts to it - Summary, Income, Expenditure, Salary and Transfers

The summary shows you the best of the income and expenditure of your team and the salary screen shows you what your wage budget and how much of it you're using. The transfers screen shows any payments that aren't yet completed (sell on clauses etc.). The income screen shows all the money that the team has earned over the last month, the season so far and the previous season. All the expenditures of the same period are shown in the expenditure screen.

Pre-Game and In-Game Options

Opposition Instructions

Before the game, set your team up so that it mirrors the opposition. To know how your opponents play, keep a scout on next opposition. Then, if possible, watch the scouted match and look at the Formations and Player Ratings to see where each position plays. Usually it is in this format (4-4-2): GK-DR-DL-DC-DC-MR-ML-MC-MC-FC-FC

Your DCs are the two bottom players (where strikers usually are). Your more defensive midfielder will be against their more attacking/creative midfielder. Your full backs are against their wingers and the attacking player who has the highest off the ball attribute on your team should be against the best central defender on theirs. In the screenshot on the next page, you can see how I set up a 4-1-2-1-2 to work against a 4-4-2 opposition. To do this you have to clear the entire team list (Clear Selection), and then swap each player till they are in the correct position. You can make sure that everything is in the right order using the Team Report Screen (Assistant Advice>Get Team Report, in Team/Tactics Screen) Now, at the start of the game, in Opposition Instructions, for all of their attacking players (Strikers, Attack-Minded Midfielder, Wingers), use Often or Always for Closing Down and Tight Marking, and Weaker Foot for show onto foot. Leave tackling the way it is.

Team Talk

Team Talks are very important and I will describe when to use what team talk.





Friendly Match

Result not Important

Result not Important

Well Done (If bad, then disappointing)

Home Game

For the Fans

You can win this game

Pleased (If bad, then disappointing)

Away Game

You can win this game

For the Fans

Pleased (If bad, then disappointing)

Played Better, didn't win




Played Badly


I want to see more from you


Played Well




Adding External Utilities to the Game

Logo Packs and Kit Packs

  1. Download the file to My Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2008/Graphics (If it isn't there then make it)
  2. Extract the file using WinRAR (Download here) or WinZip
  3. Go to Options>Preferences>Display & Sound in the game
  4. Make sure Reload Skin on Confirm is checked
  5. Press Confirm


  1. Download the file to My Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2008/Skins
  2. Extract so that the skins are in a folder (which consists of the skin, skin_right and maybe another file)
  3. Go to Options>Preferences>Display & Sound in the game
  4. Choose the skin from the dropdown in the left
  5. Press Confirm

In Conclusion

Thank You To:

  • Fedorico Roma Fan and Spanish from for the guide on getting full stars in training
  • Kiki Kovacsek from for his guide on attacking corners
  • Tug, for his amazing training schedules that have helped so many FMers
  • The unnamed maker of the best tactics guide I have ever seen
  • The members of, for helping me in various parts of this guide, and the first readers of the guide
  • Every other person who is reading this guide and is helping make it better
  • Sports Interactive for making the Football Manager Series


If there is any way to make this guide better, or have any questions, please either leave a comment on the thread or email me here. Thank you for reading this guide, and soon I hope to have another version uploaded with more features.

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