During my time playing FML I’ve noticed a rather interesting trend that usually starts to appear towards the end of a season. That trend is the sudden appearance of players ‘of a certain age’ on the transfer market auction page. Now what do I mean by a certain age? Well I mean they are hurtling at breakneck speed towards that milestone point in a footballer’s career, the tombstone that marks the slide towards a life breeding race horses and piling on pounds whilst commentating on how ‘it wasn’t like that when I played’ under the hot studio lights of a television studio.
Yes that’s right I mean (and lets whisper it) ’turning 30’.
Now whilst turning 30 is a bit of a sore subject for me as it looms on the horizon I believe turning 30 in FML is a whole different ballgame. Gone are the days of Championship manager and early FML where a player would turn 30 then magically lose attributes so quick David Blaine would look and scratch his head wondering how such a feat was achieved. Gone of the days of a players value tumbling quicker than driving a new car off the garage forecourt and you’d look to ship them out before their over inflated wages and poor performances sucked newly promoted Blyth Spartans back from the premiership and tumbling towards non league obscurity again.
Basically what I’m trying to say is players over 30 in FML simply aren’t as useless as they used to be in the FM series. In fact I’d go as far to say as you can’t go wrong then packing 2 or 3 30+ players into your side as long as you’re careful and follow a few guidelines. The magical factor in FML is an attribute called ‘Natural Fitness’. Whilst it’s not cast iron guarantee because of certain hidden stats, a high natural fitness level should mean the player can stave off a sharp attribute decline as he moves into his 30’s. Also if a player is of the world class level then a slight loss here and there won’t make a whole lot of difference as long as a full scale slide doesn’t manifest itself.
You also have to look at a player’s position. Now as we all know a goalkeeper should be able to play on into his late 30’s with no problem whatsoever and I would also say that a centre half probably peaks between 28 and 32 where experience will help him deal with those difficult situations. Just be wary of those pace players. A low natural fitness tied with a pace based player could end up in a world of pain for the purchaser.
Finally when it comes to your own players don’t confuse full potential bounce with declining attributes. When a player reaches his full potential you may find he has a re-distribution in his attributes. This will manifest itself in red arrows showing for 3 or 4 attributes but greens showing for 3-4 others. This is a natural occurrence and isn’t anything to worry about so be careful before you throw that 29 year old on the scrapheap because you think he’s on his way out!
Let’s take a look at the pros and con’s of owning an older player:
Experience – Quality older players have been there and done that. They should have already well established reputations that can only boost your clubs overall standing.
Consistency – With experience comes consistency and therefore stability to your side. You should find that you get a few less slightly random results because you don’t have a squad full of young players who stayed out until 4am in the nightclub the day of a match.
Quality Attributes – Older players attributes should be developed to their maximum potential if they’ve been coached correctly through their career. That means they should have great stats for the position they play in right from the time you sign them.
Cheaper to Sign – As I’ve already mentioned when a player is 29 going on 30 it’s often the case that people want to get rid of them and quick. This can often result in picking up a player from anywhere ranging from their AQ fee to just under MV and in FML that means bargain.
High Wages – Experience comes at a price. And for most footballers that comes in the form of a mansion(s), Ferrari(s) and a nice looking wife(s) who ’would like to be taken seriously and not thought of as Mrs Footballer’. None of those things are cheap and that means you’ll be forking out lots of money in wages.
Poor re-sale – Be prepared for the fact that whilst it might have been a bargain signing, you’ll probably struggle to sell the player on too. As long as you keep this in mind when you buy you won’t find it a surprise when the time comes. For that quality player with the name known in real life a £1 auction will often reap surprising and pleasant results.
The decline – Now whilst it won’t happen as quickly as in earlier games where a player would wake up one day and realise he had lost that much in physical stats he couldn’t even get out of bed, it will happen eventually. As long as you can recognise those signs then it shouldn’t be a problem.
Possible Retirement – Always the chance a player could decide enough is enough resulting in you losing a prize asset for nothing.
To sum up I believe that on the whole if you buy carefully and sensibly then a player in his 30’s is not something to be ignored. Their experience and matured stats could be the difference between going the distance in a competition and ending up a close second.
Oh and remember if your on a crowded bus and 30 year old footballer gets on, make sure to get up and give him your seat. After all he’s not as young as he once was…..
|Written By Michael Lowes
Semi-regular guest on the podcast, Michael is currently managing in the Shearer game world and occasionally imparting his wisdom to the readership of gameworldone.com