Nov 20

Reaching Goals In FMLive: My Restart Challenge Story


Well it’s been an exciting season for sure. Let’s rewind to what happened after my first day after restarting, what my goals were, whether I achieved them and what I achieved over the season.

Firstly let me just sit on the fence for a second… restarting is not the same as starting with a new account. When you start a new account you do not have the skills, so I had six seasons worth of skills so in theory around six months ahead of anyone brand new. That said, the difference would not be as great as you think as the top level skills don’t take as long to reach as to learn – so this means that I’ll always be ahead of someone new but difference in learnt skills could very well be not much in it in seasons to come. Does that make it harder for someone brand new to do what I’ve done? Yes, but slightly. Does it make it impossible for someone brand new to compete and enjoy themselves? Hell no.

Secondly, Hoddle is currently around 50% full. In a database of 50,000 players, that means that rather than 50 players each (assuming 1000 teams), there are on average 100 players each. What this means is that in your initial selection that there are enough players to go around. It also means that you are less likely to get ripped off. For non-restarters, the players that are no longer at the top of their game are hard to sell for a good margin. For newbies and restarters, the transfer auctions, loan list and wage auctions are full of decent players that can be the basis of a team that are competitive from the outset.

Back to the summary of my first season. OK, so I had auto-selected my team with a wage of £75k for 16 players. It wasn’t a bad auto-select. A lot of oldies on higher wages than I’d like but that wasn’t the point. I wanted to start playing straight away to get a rank and therefore start the financial ball rolling. No point in spending ages searching for players to then lose out on daily income and overdraft increasing. My primary goal was to have a team that would be enjoyable to play with straight away. No crap about being on low wages long enough to build a stadium so that I might be able to enjoy playing in a few months time,

My secondary goal was to bring the average reputation of the team from 1 star up to 3 star as soon as possible. Obviously this needs form (not easy to do with a new team), finances (not easy when you’re trying to buy in a team) and the rep of the players (not especially easy to do quickly and can be expensive). I started with tactics. I read the Tactical Theorem ‘10 downloads from FM Britain. I have never liked 4-5-1 or 4-6-0 so I opted to continue with a fairly rigid 4-1-2-1-2 wide diamond formation as shown. I set up match plans to copy exactly what I do with shouts in game.

rstactics Reaching Goals In FMLive: My Restart Challenge Story

Next players. It’s always difficult to pick your starting eleven when you have a new squad, so I did an automatic and then looked at which starters I considered to be weak and which weak looking players were not picked. The areas that needed improvement I concentrated on. Good players are hard to come by when you are on an overdraft of £100k but that is where the market comes in. Older players are cheap. Very cheap. No-one wants, less so since 1.3. I looked out for players with attributes that I liked, a fairly good reputation and looked over history to see how they performed before being sent to the glue factory. I also looked out for 3 star rep current players on average to low wages to boost areas of the team that were not available otherwise. So bids were in on players that I would like to help boost my auto-selected team, tactics were set up and I then bashed out enough games to get a rank. Mission complete in getting ranked.

I then started building a two-tier stadium while capacity was low. Eight weekly payments but not overstretching.

rsstadium Reaching Goals In FMLive: My Restart Challenge Story

The philosophy from then was fairly simple. Each day I would play my best 11, look for area of the squad that could replace the weak, see if there are any bargains that “couldn’t be left on the shelf”, put any spare cash into stadium and play enough games.

It’s funny that although I had a lot of oldies in my squad that they played together really well. More established clubs were not guaranteed a win and as I got more quality players in, my results got more consistent and therefore my players reputations increased as well as my team reputation. As an example, one 33 year old striker has scored one in two games. He climbed from a two star rep striker to a 3.5 star rep striker. It seemed that the more the players did well the better they played and therefore the more players improved.

rsrank Reaching Goals In FMLive: My Restart Challenge Story

On day eight I was a 3 star rep team and was loitering around the 200th position. It was then a case of building on success and my new aim was to try my best to win the lower reputation cups that I had entered and gain promotion to the EFA Division 3. As time went on, my stadium enhancements meant that I was looking at a fairly good overall daily income. That combined with sneaking players in, releasing the crap players and not renewing those that I know I can replace meant that I was building a platform for a successful future.

rsfinalteam Reaching Goals In FMLive: My Restart Challenge Story

My first official win was the 2 star rep cup. I also got to the final of the EFA Div1-4 Cup. In terms of the league, I have to say that this has been the most enjoyable league I’ve been in since starting FML back in February 2008. With Tom and Mik both restarting there was a sense of an even game. It was a race to get promoted and it has been very very close for the entire season. The final standings were 2nd Tom, 3rd me, 4th Mik.

rsEFAD4 Reaching Goals In FMLive: My Restart Challenge Story

Season seven performance summary:

  • EFA D4 – 3rd
  • EFA Div1-4 Cup – runner up
  • EFA Evening Cup – knock out stage
  • EFA Champions League – group stage
  • UFFA Grassroots Cup – knock out stage
  • UFFA Gameworld Cup – knock out stage
  • Super 2 star Rep Cup – winners
  • Super Mega League D – 7th
  • Super Weekly Cups – knock out stage (for all three)
  • Super Quickplays (various) – quarter finals best
  • RTG #1 Beat the SFA – quarter finals

So my conclusions about restarting…

Was it hard? Not really but it did need a bit of tactical knowledge and a love of older players to kick start the process.

Have I bankrupted myself? No, stadium investments have been made and so things will only get better.

rsfinances Reaching Goals In FMLive: My Restart Challenge Story

Have I enjoyed the challenge? Hell yes!

I was nervous to start with that it would undo all my hard work and effort, but after a season I’m not feeling too far off where I was with the team that I let die. Having co-restarters was a great laugh throughout (thanks to Tom and Mik!).

What does this mean? I think that restarting has presented some challenges that I had long forgotten about. Being an average team doing OK in the EFA Premiership had a prestige about it but restarting has reignited my love for the game. Maybe I’m more suited to being a LLM manager?

My conclusion so far is that restarting shouldn’t attract a penalty. Maybe you are allowed a restart every three seasons for free. Give people the confidence to restart once in a while. Don’t suggest to people that restarting is bad or that everyone has to play FMLive the same way, i.e. long term. Maybe allow people to start a new team with new name?

People move game worlds for a reason. This is essentially a restart. Before you move GWs why not give restarting a go? Yes you might lose some stadium seating. Yes, you might lose some players that you’ve had for several seasons… but does it really matter if you enjoy playing the game more?

Written By Rik Stewart
A long-standing beta tester for FM Live, Rik is a moderator on GW Hoddle and responsible for their game world blog at
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  • arnoldinho

    Good article! I changed GWs a couple of months ago and have found the challenge of starting afresh really good fun. Certainly I've found i have far more competition now than I ever did before.

    From your article it sounds to me like if you restart in the same GW there's a lingering reputation benefit from your previous team - I don't think I've ever seen a completely new team go to 3 star that quickly. So more reason to restart rather than move.

    The one area I'd disagree with your strategy would be on the wage budget. I agree it's silly for people to choose 16 £200 youths and leave it for three seasons, but it's perfectly possible to put together a good squad on 50k a day. Saving 25k a day is 700k over the course of a season - that's another 2-tier stand or a quality player to build your team around in Season 2. My fear is that you'll hit a wall in season 3 or 4 when your stadium income means you aren't making much of a daily profit but you can't improve the daily income without spending money you don't have on a new stand.

    Hope for your sake I'm proved wrong though!

  • Rik

    Thanks for the reply :)

    The rep benefit I was wondering about but I was careful with finances, my form was pretty good and my average best players were around 3 stars, so it's entirely possible. I don't think it's as possible to do this at the start of a new GW but am unsure if this can be done or not upon transferring to a different GW. Interesting to note that my rank took a while to settle but I was expecting this.

    Point taken about stadium limitations but I've just invested in some more corp boxes so in around eight days iirc I will be on a stadium income of £147k per day. Combine that with my squad doing OK so far in the new season, I'm expecting to win some prize money to be able to pump more into my stadium at the start of next season. Better still, I'm not far away from being a 3.5 star team now.

    I should have said that my plan for this season is to get promoted in my new division (which is EFA Div 1). Anything else is a bonus. I want to retain all the good players I have, bring more in on good deals and continuous investment in stadiums without over-stretching. I'm currently happy exactly as I am until the wage auctions. :)

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