Through the GameWorldOne mail bag, we got this interesting message from Stephen Westrip in GW Lineker. Youth managers – are they destabalising the game worlds in Football Manager Live?
There have been a few teams in my GW, Lineker, that have ‘gone youth’. But in the end this will surely skew certain aspects of the gameworld. These managers are prepared to pay much higher wages for a youth player then managers that have to balance their wage budget with senior and youth squads. The official FA competitions also get skewed as these managers usually enter their youth teams into senior comps and quite often do not do so well, allowing other teams more easier victories and an artificial climb up the rankings. Of these two issues it is the wages that bothers me the most as it makes it an uneven playing field for managers who wish to try and have a senior and youth squad. The wages are unattainable which means that the youths players that can be afforded are second choice.
What do others think? Would they like managers to be required to have a certain number of senior players?
Youth teams are vital to the long term stability of game worlds. In real life, the model of a youth team is to bring through talent to the senior side, either to strengthen the team or to provide the occasional source of income when selling on to a bigger club.
Sides that “go youth” – and by that we mean that they >only have a youth set up and no senior players – break this real cycle. As Stephen asks: does this harm the future of the gameworld?
The case for “going youth”
Football Manager Live game worlds need well nurtured talent at all levels to function beyond the natural life of the original database. Those opening retail worlds which are now approaching seasons 12 or 13 are starting to find this. A player who was 25 when the gameworld started is now 37. Even the youngest original players are looking to pick up their pensions.
By “going youth”, clubs can provide a pool of talent for everyone to use. Once these players hit 22, 23 they will be sold to make way for the next bunch of 16 year olds. These could be of all standards, from your squad cover in new teams to the gameworld to the megastars in the top 10 sides. If the manager had to concentrate on senior and youth, then he would necessarily produce fewer of these players.
Youth sides can aid the community by developing loan links with senior managers. If the senior side picks up a teenager, he can loan him into the youth academy side for experience and coaching. On the other hand, the youth manager can loan or sell his players on to the senior club. Both sides mutually benefit as one can develop the talent while the other finances the whole enterprise. Such co-operation is good for dynamism in the gameworlds and offers another way of playing.
Youth sides will struggle to build up good reputation. Unless the manager is very talented at not only spotting a good youth but getting them to play well against senior sides, the repuatation levels of the players and therefore the club will be reasonably low. OK, the odd player may be of high quality, but on the whole the side will be of low reputation and low ability. This means two things. One, the club won’t be able to afford to spend that much on developing their side unless they can raise lots of cash through player sales. Two, the club won’t climb up the league pyramid as quickly as a senior manager.
The case against “going youth”
Despite the weaker finances overall, the club will be able (and willing) to spend far too much on youth wages. With AFs lower than £20,000, youths are incredibly cheap. A senior side may be paying ten or a hundred times this for his players. Despite agent fees, it isn’t uncommon for youths to be given five-figure contracts simply on the basis of their “judging potential” rating. This isn’t too much of a problem in itself – most youth at this price fail to make it as superstars and the money is wasted. But it creates two really important side effects. One, the players who do know how to spot and develop youth talent are priced out of the market, causing resentment. Two, unless these players “make it” the database becomes littered with failed protégés on incredibly high wages but incredibly low talent.
Some “go youth” without the slightest clue about what they’re doing. This is related to the above point. A whole generation of youth players is subject to poor development when a more well-rounded manager may be better at bringing talent of all abilities through. High wages is just one problem produced by poor youth managers. Other problems include poorly constructed youth squads (hence low ratings for the team and low progression for all players, potential or no potential), bad transfer policy (either by holding out for too much money on dross or selling far too cheaply to others, bankrupting the side and causing more lost talent) and playing youth at senior level far too early (necessitated by the requirement to play senior federation matches).
To top it off, what happens if a youth manager goes inactive? Youths get auto extended until they are well past their youth development stage, locking them into a side giving them inadequate coaching, inadequate match time and inadequate management. 50 youths, some of which had real potential could be destroyed by a manager getting bored with them.
I’m not too bothered by youth dedicated managers on the whole. As I see it, I want a good senior side, and these managers pose no direct threat to me in that sense unless they can build a team of U21 wonderkids (in which case, good luck to them!). I also appreciate the work they do in bringing through talent into the transfer market.
However, I am a little concerned that the inflated prices and poor management are creating a vacuum of talent. Combined with a youth development model in the game code which has been questioned by many on the forums, will the game end up with no truly world class players come season 20?
What do you guys think – does “going youth” have a place in our gameworlds, or should we force people to play more “naturally” and keep a senior side available?
|Written By Gareth Millward
"Millie" is a long-standing member of the FM community and a co-founder of Gameworld One.Com. As part of FM-Britain, he was a contributor to TT&F and involved with the new tactical interface in FM2010.