The Football Manager series is not only the most iconic sports simulation game in the world, it is also one of the most difficult to master.
Developers Sports Interactive have created a game that mirrors the real-life trials and tribulations of managing in real-life football, and their efforts shine through in the latest incarnation.
Football Manager 2023 (FM 24) is a truly immersive game, offering players endless hours of gaming fun if they are prepared to fully commit themselves to playing it properly.
For many FM players, managing in one of the top competitions in Europe is their ultimate goal – after all, who wouldn’t want to turn Manchester United’s fortunes around?
However, the real fun in the game is challenging yourself in lower-ranked leagues around the world – particularly if you are unfamiliar with the set-up.
The A-League is the ideal vehicle for an exciting FM save, with the competitive nature of Australia’s top flight presenting a pretty unique FM challenge.
The league’s profile has grown in recent years, with a lucrative broadcast deal helping to grow the audience in a country where football is not the number one sport.
Overseas investment has also had a positive impact, particularly at Melbourne City, which is now under the same ownership umbrella as Manchester City.
However, the City Group’s involvement has not translated into them consistently winning silverware, with the club losing three of the last four A-League Grand Finals.
While they did manage to get the job done in 2020/21, their trio of disappointments means they remain a tempting proposition for any FM manager aiming to build a dynasty.
If the prospect of diving into A-League football without a safety net leaves you feeling a little weak at the knees, we’ve come up with a couple of game hacks you can use to help you on your way.
Unlike other top leagues around the world, the clubs in Australia’s top flight do not have seemingly endless amounts of money to spend in the transfer market.
That point is hammered home by a quick look at the FM transfer budgets for the 2023/24 season, with most of the clubs allocating under $200,000 to buy new players.
They include Melbourne City, who were the favorites with online bookmakers to win the title this season. The best Australian betting sites rated them as 3.50 shots to be crowned champions – odds that attracted plenty of interest among sports bettors.
However, their FM transfer budget of $168,830 lags way behind Western United FC, who have an enticing $1,765,230 available to spend at the start of the game.
Thankfully there is a handy solution that could tip the odds even more in City’s favor in the form of the in-game editor, which allows you to change the database before the game gets underway.
You can use it to bump up your transfer budget, reduce what a rival club can spend, and customize any element of your new world before you get started.
There is also an in-game editor available, which allows you to make a limitless number of changes. However, many FM players argue this takes game hacking just a little too far.
The Two-Manager Trick
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book where the Football Manager series is concerned, but it remains a hack you can use to boost your chances of being successful.
To take advantage you create two managers in the game – one to manage your A-League and another at a top club with deep pockets – for instance, Man City.
You then sell one of your youth team prospects to the top club for an exorbitant transfer fee and when the fraud has been completed, retire the top team manager.
Your club will now have a healthy transfer budget to work with, while the top club will have an overpriced youth player in their ranks and a managerial hole to fill.
It is feasible to use this hack to sell more than one player, thus giving you the chance to shift some deadwood to ensure you are not lumbered with them during the first season.
To facilitate this, it is just a matter of submitting a bid for the player as manager of the top club, before quickly accepting the offer as the boss of your A-League club.
Yes, it is not ethical and you shouldn’t really do it, but no one will know unless you tell them so it is a great way to give yourself a useful edge in FM 24.