Club building takes on many guises. From re-building a fallen giant to taking a new MLS expansion to domestic and continental glory. It can be quite overwhelming, to begin with, but with this short guide, you should be ahead of the curve. Building a club is something I love doing. Trying to build a dynasty similar to the Ferguson is always my big goal – here are a few tips I use to get there.
#1 – Plan ahead
Before you click continue you should take a look around your club of choice. What are your goals for the season, next season, or even in 5-10 years time?
What do you need to get to that level? Short term goals should always be your immediate priority, but they should also always be intertwined with your long-term goals. They should not be in juxtaposition with each other.
Can you afford to sell high earning key players early on to fund transfers to strengthen the rest of the squad or will that jeopardise your short-term goals? Similarly with ageing players. They might be vital to your squad now, but will they hold back the next star from coming through later?
#2 – Recruitment
When building a club, how you recruit will actively affect your future.
If you are expecting promotion this season, will you have any spare budget to spend on better players next season? Can you take a gamble early to ensure that promotion with a big signing in January?
If you do get promoted, can you rely on your current crop or will the jump in quality be too much for them? If you buy young players, they might improve enough to fight with you each season as you step up the leagues.
Avoid signing dangerous or dodgy contracts that could put your club in danger in the future. You can take the gamble, but only if you can afford it to go wrong.
#3 – Facilities
It is absolutely vital to improve your facilities as and when you can. It is expensive but as you progress through the leagues, you need to be able to keep up on the training ground as much as on the pitch. On-pitch success, but part of being successful
The key facility to improve is your training facilities for the first-team. One thing people overlook is that if you’re consistently promoting youth into the first-team, they’re going to be using your first-team facilities. There is no point in having a state-of-the-art youth set up if you aren’t promoting youth players. Youth facilities are not for your youth squads, they are instead for the youth intake players before they become your youth intake.
It will almost always be more worthwhile improving your first-team facilities before your youth team facilities. Long-term, improving youth facilities, junior coaching and youth recruitment will probably be important to you, but first-team facilities are where all the players you’re managing spend most of their time.
That doesn’t mean ignoring your youth recruitment and junior coaching. They are also vital to long-term club growth, but if you’re upgrading them at the expense of other areas, it might be time to step back and re-prioritise.
#4 – Staff
It’s not always how shiny the facilities are, it’s the hard work that goes on inside. While you’re buying stars for your team, it can be easy to spend your whole budget on the next Balon d’Or winner. They’ll never reach that potential if you don’t have the staff to get them there though. Staff are often the most overlooked part of club building.
Getting the best coaches for your level is necessary for success. Without the know-how from these professionals, you’ll struggle to get anywhere.
The better your coaches, the more likely your players are going to improve to their best. If they improve to their best, your team will play better. It isn’t a difficult formula.
While it does cost money, but if you’re being savvy in the transfer market you should have enough cash in the bank to entice coaches in.
However, it isn’t just coaches though. Get in new physio’s, sports scientists, data analysts and scouts to improve your club.
Physios and sports scientists will help keep your best players fit, while scouts and data analysts will find you the next best hidden gem or bargain of the century.
#5 – Affiliates
Getting affiliates on board provides countless benefits and very few disadvantages.
The types of affiliates include;
To enable you to send players on loan,
An overseas commercial partner to increase profile in other countries,
To share scouting knowledge,
A club to provide you with a chance to recruit foreign youngsters,
A club with which you have the first refusal on their players.
Each of these is good for their own reasons. A commercial partner will be useful for bigger clubs to supplement their income, but less useful for lower league clubs. The first refusal might work for lower league clubs, but I’ve never found it useful at any level.
Those are what I focus on for club building. It can be easy to overlook just one of these, but your life will be a lot easier if you don’t.