Monday, July 1, 2013

FIFA 13 Manager Mode For Dummies

The recent retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and all the transfer market going-ons prompted me to compile what I’ve learnt about a managerial career in FIFA 13. Here is a good idea of what you’re getting into if you’re interested in pursuing a FIFA 13 manager mode career yourself.

(Disclaimer: I'm not a Newcastle fan or supporter.)
(Thanks Hawa, for spotting some bad mental math with the years.)

Once you’re appointed manager all the players start abusing steroids. I suspect this to be the doing of the well intentioned assistant manager; the board has just put a man in charge who hasn’t managed a football club before and not everybody is an AVB or a Mourinho. In fact, the board is probably aware of the going-ons and accordingly renames the stadium as the Pride of Amsterdam or Livestrong Ground. The sponsorship money they get out of it is where all that transfer money comes from every year even if you don’t win anything.

The steroids are probably why all the players’ bodies are eventually as strong as titanium except for two Achilles’ heels. Any injury in the middle of a game, no matter how severe, can be traced back to either a twist of the knee or a heavy fall on an elbow. All other injuries occur during practice. Presumably, wrestling, running into walls and having heavy weights dropped on players are part of the training routine to play teams like Stoke.

One of your star players will get annoyed that he didn’t play against Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough in the League and the Capital One Cup even though he played Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund right after each of those games in the same week. The board will issue the very useless instructions of telling you to handle the matter, or they will tell you to sod off or bugger off (this article is based around you managing an EPL club, but most of the points made hold true beyond borders) and tell you that they will transfer him themselves. 

 You try to negotiate with this player, which is quite courageous of you considering you have a drug fuelled monster and his agent on the other side of the table. You can’t offer an apology or a reassurance, only higher wages. A lot of them are just like any other corporate slave, they’re doing it for the money and not really because they love the fans and the club or have a mistress in the same town who’s married to a teammate or a family member. Sometimes the lure of more money is not enough and the player wants to leave.

At this point, one of the moneybags will try to buy them from you even if they have no need for that player, a situation comparable to a Russian oil tycoon purchasing vodka or a Sheikh purchasing vodka. They would even be willing to pay up to two times the player’s estimated value if he leads the league in assists or something. The fact that I’m never offered a player swap deal is what causes me great unease. I surmise that the moneybag is at the centre of an evil plan to monopolise an area of the pitch. If the plan reaches fruition, you will be forced to play a 5-0-5 formation or something. You, instead, can swap your players with other clubs’ players all that you want and mysteriously avoid a bad reputation. Maybe it’s the drug mafia getting your assistant manager’s back by getting yours.


More often than not, you will end up selling that player off anyway. You can buy another player of more or less the same ability for a much lesser amount than what you earned just now. Don’t bother about the team chemistry stat, it doesn’t matter. If you have the good fortune of this player of interest (PoI) having less than a year remaining on his contract or having handed in a transfer request at his current club, maybe because he didn’t get to play Celta Vigo in the King’s cup, then it could be even cheaper. No other manager in the world is as hard-nosed as you are and PoI’s manager will acquiesce to a moderate amount plus a half-decent youngster in exchange for him.

The quick and easy negotiations could also stem from your charm. It’s mostly the assistant manager running the show and you’re just the face so you probably don’t have too many other qualities. This could also explain why you’re barred from trying to buy back the player you just sold. I don’t expect the game to formally carry such a player arbitrage exploitation possibility. Why the moneybags don’t want PoI or pay over the top for your now ex-player can only be attributed to the upper class mentality that if it’s cheap or discounted then it’s defective.

The players that do stay on at the club until their old age suffer a sharp decline in their abilities. Maybe they realise that there’s more to life than just kicking a ball around to keep the working class in the vicinity satisfied. They start shirking training to spend their time binge eating or partying or reading to their grandchildren. The other more likely explanation is that the assistant manager’s steroids don’t suit older people as well as they do the younger ones.

In the real world, these senior citizens get shipped off on free transfers to the MLS or some obscure league where a billionaire has just discovered the joy of spending on a football club. In the FIFA 13 world, everyone is like those mega stores in the paper that advertise an exchange offer on old things in exchange for their new if you throw a little money in. The fans don’t care much, as is indicated by the stark absence of “Ryan Giggs, tearing you apart since 1991” and “Super Frankie Lampard” banners and whatever they honour Gerrard at Anfield with. The players themselves, now weakened, don’t even whimper in protest and timidly pack their bags for wherever they’re being sent to. The utilitarian in you can get bonus kicks out of this whole affair if you unload this player to a league rival by way of a swap deal and then go up the table at their expense.

If you are unable to pull off such a coup then you have two options. The first option is to renew this player’s contract for whatever pittance he expects, which is around a third of what they probably earned in their prime. Most of these older folk are usually considering retirement when they agree to another one year contract, risking their frail, aging joints, to bring in a fraction of the wealth they should have accumulated already. Maybe the tax structure and/or the cost of living in England extract quite a pound of flesh. The second option is not to offer him a contract at all. This isn’t as cruel as it sounds because once an athlete can’t play his sport anymore he can still make a comfortable living by talking about it on TV or becoming a manager.

Choosing the second option might require you to find a replacement. If you’re in this situation at the beginning of the second year of your career (2013) then amongst the free agents you will find a prodigious 17 year old Italian striker and a 19 year old promising South American defender. If it’s your third year, then look for a winger and an attacking midfielder. There’s a fixed pattern for the rest of the years too. The names change but the nationalities and the ages don’t. You can usually stave off scouting by raiding the free agents every year. Usually no other club is interested in these guys either so you can get them at a lower wage than what they themselves expect to earn. That feeling you get when they agree to the contract is what the guy who first thought of outsourcing must have felt too.

However, if you belong to the FC Barcelona school of thought and want to bring people up through the academy then you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. There are only five scouts in the world at any given time and you can’t bring on a more expensive scout even if you want to. This reeks strongly of an over-zealous FIFA employee wanting to incorporate the UEFA financial fair play regulations in the game but not in an overtly obvious way lest the makers of the game get sued. As a result your scouting suffers a little and the there is a good chance that a boy who initially looked like the next Messi could turn out to be an Anderson instead.

Various national teams also come along to trick you into accepting a managerial position with them even though the game itself keeps calling it a part-time role. Such a role can be taken up a day before the start of the World Cup even and nobody raises an eyebrow. And then, of course, you can resign once the tournament is over and go back to the easy life.

A very important characteristic of the game is that you are immune to all other aspects of your life. You never fall sick nor do you get coins thrown at you from the opposition supporters even if you choose the unnerve strategy and call them mentally fragile and whatnot. You can choose to switch careers to earn whatever wages, wherever they are. There are no friends or family that implore you to not accept a job in some other corner of the world. Players occasionally get homesick yet they transfer to some non-native country anyway, but not you. Maybe the game assumes you to be a bit of a sociopath since you're sitting at home and playing video games by yourself instead of going out and playing the actual sport with others or just having a life in general.


  1. Also Hatem Ben Arfa's birthday is 7th March. If he was 25 years old in Jan 2012, he's got to be 29 in Dec 2015. The math is wrong and my company should give me more work. There's a couple of other age related anomalies too.

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  3. You should try playing the Career in player mode, every game the player plays for his country is a debut game for him

  4. Hawa, the Sp half (or quarter depending on how many people are considered as team members) of the legendary SpEnt team, I'm impressed by your ability to detect shoddy mental math. It should look okay now.

    Bhavin, put player career mode for dummies guide.