There is a whole lot of great content in the FM community, from blogs like FMAnalysis, FMVeteran, and FMFocus, as well as from Cleon and furiousuk on the SI forums and GoldenFM on YouTube. This is one of the best years for articles in the community that I can remember, with useful ideas about a wide range of areas, from different formations to passing analysis. Our blogroll (on the right hand side of the blog) contains our favourite accounts, but more specifically, we thought we’d put up a page to link to our favourite posts, articles and discussions over the past couple of years. There are some old ones but sound theory is timeless and will be translatable to new FM games for years to come.
Steven Fraser was a widely loved and revered FM poster who sadly passed away in July 2011. Steven is an FM legend up there with the likes of Cleon and wwfan, and anything you can read of his is well worth looking at. Here are our favourite SFraser posts:
How To Meet The Next Season – this post talks about what you should be doing in the off-season and how you should be evolving your squad for the upcoming season.
A Guide To Developing Youngsters – this was written on the old training system but the advice offered in it is still brilliant. Steven discusses club composition and how best to create a structure that gets the best out of youth development. Advice for every manager.
Meet The System – SFraser’s system was mentioned in nearly all of his posts and this was the much-awaited discussion of his tactic and how he uses it.
Building A Cohesive Team – balance is important in every team and here Steven looked at how you can use simple logic to get the best out of your players and cover their weaknesses through team selection and roles.
Creativity And Flair – in one of my favourite posts of all-time, Steven shows the devastating benefits of these two attacking mental attributes, complete with background about his players, tactic and in-match screenshots.
The Tactics Of Attacking: Creating Space – a detailed and brilliant discussion of how best to open up space; a number of other posters get involved here with some great contributions so I encourage you to read the whole thread.
Free Kicks, Set Pieces, Delivery and the All Important Technique – a post about the importance of technique when it comes to set pieces.
Backroom Staff: What They Are Good At and How To Use Them – how to set up a backroom team.
Forza is the sole creator and contributor of FMAnalysis, one of our favourite blogs. He’s been writing about FM for years on TheDugout, too, and he’s come out with some great stuff.
A Guide To Reactive Tactics – in a great post that changed the way a lot of people play FM, Lee showed us how you can react to opponents to exploit their weaknesses. Some of the screenshots are missing but the thinking is still there to learn from.
Reactive Tactics 2012 – two more updated posts as part of the series from May 2012.
Mechanising The Play – Using the DM as a vertical weapon – this is an extremely interesting post, as Lee considers the use of a defensive midfielder to add penetration and support to attacking moves.
Mechanising The Play – Stretching The Midfield – Lee shows how you can create space for your playmaker by using a pacey striker and deep CMs, a system I often use to get the best out of my most creative players.
Mechanising The Play – Emptying Space and Discovered Attacks – this post demonstrates the effectiveness of attacking full-backs when exploiting the space by narrow wingers, a common tactic in modern football.
Cleon has been registered on the SI forums since 2003 and is more in-the-know about Football Manager than most. He has a wealthy knowledge of tactics and training and this has been shown in a series of great and detailed posts over the years.
The Full 90 Minutes – What I Do – a brilliant post about what Cleon does over the 90 minutes of a game, including reactive tweaks and shouts.
Creating a Tactic – From The Beginning – how to create a solid tactic without going in blind, with Cleon showing the reasoning behind the tactic for his Liverpool team. A must-read for anybody who wants to create their own tactic (hopefully everyone! ;))
Understanding Your Tactic – Cleon goes through his Tottenham tactic, how he adjusts it and how he examines the success of each role through statistics.
Youth Development – this post shows a slightly different view of Youth Development to SFraser’s aforementioned thread but it is equally helpful and intelligent.
Ajax Youth Development – When The Real World Meets Football Manager – Cleon has taken Youth Development to the next level in this ongoing thread by studying real-life Ajax training drills, selection criteria and coaching staff.
If Furious had his own blog, it would probably be one of, if not the, best blog around. In the last year, he’s churned out a number of brilliant posts about a range of topics, but they are underread as far as I’m concerned.
The FM 4-1-2-2-1 (433 – 451 – WoW) – the best, most definitive post regarding the increasingly common 4-1-2-2-1 formation, with a number of great examples of what kind of system you can use with it. If you’re looking for inspiration, this is the thread.
Building The Squad – in a discussion of an important topic in Football Manager, Furious gives some cracking ideas on how to organise and evolve your squad over time. An influential piece that continues to be part of my thinking today.
Creating a Potent Tactical System – as he himself says, ‘this thread is about turning tactical vision into FM reality’, an important process in making the best systems.
The 4222 Box – Blurring the Strata – a brilliant review of the 4-2-2-2 box formation with its shape in the defensive and attacking phases.
We mentioned Richard in our recent training post as somewhat of a legend in the community. His annual Tactical Theorems and Frameworks guide laid the foundations for the modern FM tactics creator and though his influence is more behind the scenes nowadays, he and Cleon remain the best person to ask about tactics and the match engine.
How To Play FM13: A Twelve Step Guide – this thread has had rave reviews on the SI forums, as it lays down a few ideas that should be ruling principles in your game. It is intended for the less experienced players but everyone will be able to pick something up from it.
How To Play FM: A (Very) Short Guide to Confidence and Match Expectations Management – in the title really!
You may recall that llama has written a couple of posts on PTW, but he has written many more elsewhere.
The Regista – regulating a steady supply of chances – here llama looks at the merits of the Deep Lying Playmaker, using statistics and screenshots.
Trequartista – a discussion – another role discussion from llama, as he considers RVP as a Trequartista.
Shrew recently created his own blog at FMVeteran and already has some great stuff on there. While we’re here, we encourage you to follow his career posts with Rapid Wien! Here are our favourite tactics posts:
Exploiting The Pocket – many great players have made careers out of exploiting the space between midfield and defence and Shrew examines that in this post, with the best ways to make the most of this space.
Player Turnover and Legacy Building – this post shows great squad building ideas in practice, as well as the adaptations needed tactically to accommodate a changing squad.
Stats Analysis – a really good post in which Shrew examines how he uses stats to decide upon transfers and tactics changes. A perfect article for teambuilding and meeting a new season.
Rapid and Austria – now, I know this isn’t one post as such, but it contains some ongoing helpful advice and ideas that you can put into your own game. And it’s a bloody good career too.
That rounds up the list of our favourite posts in the FM community. We’ll probably have forgotten one so apologies for that; tweet us any other articles you’ve enjoyed and we’ll invariably retweet them or add them to this list.