Jan 272013

fm13 lower league guide top image

Hello and welcome to my FM 2013 lower league guide, this will be a three part series covering everything you need to know to succeed in the lower leagues. We will start from the beginning of a new save and work our way through, so today covers pre-season setup and creating a squad including the best FM13 lower league free players.

FM13 lower league guide: The database

You may be thinking, ‘I can load my own database thank you very much, NEXT!’ But hold your horses, there is a wide spread misconception (which plagued me for some time, until Jake put me right) that loading the likes of England, Italy, Spain and Brazil will offer the best spread of talent.

The best database to load for the lower leagues is actually a custom database. Just load England down to the lowest league you want to start in (or whichever country you plan on managing in.) But don’t select anymore countries, instead click ‘next’ and then select ‘custom’ from the ‘database size’ drop down box. From here use the large database and under continents add ‘Europe’, ‘South America’ and ‘North America’, make sure the only box to be ticked in these continents is the ‘players with national reputation’ box. Then click OK and you’re done.

fm13 lower league guide, databse

This database provides more players from lesser countries such as Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic and Uruguay etc, etc. When managing in the lower leagues there are some very talented players to be taken advantage of, like veterans Dosek and Kincl and later on the USA and Australia can provide some handy free transfers along with Uruguay provided you gain work permits.

FM 2013 lower league guide: Pre-season setup

We all know that pre-season can be dull and mundane, but I think this year, more so than ever can see pre-season destroy a save if taken for granted. Below are a few tips and reminders.

  • Select your tactics from the off and store them, if your tactics aren’t selected how can your side learn them? If you use two different strategies for different scenarios, load them both as a tactic, this way your side we be fluent in the strategy as well as the logistics of the tactic.
  • During pre-season set your general training to ‘team cohesion’ and ‘heavy’ intensity. Also set your match training to ‘tactic only’. When you’re within a week of the seasons start switch training to balanced and average intensity and your match training to whatever needs working on for the upcoming game (use your assistants advice here, he will provide hints before most matches.)
  • Get an assistant manager with good motivation, tactical knowledge, PA and CA judgement. All these should be at least 10 and remember if ‘tactical knowledge’ is below 10, you may have to set your own opposition instructions which can be tough in the lower leagues.
  • Sign a few good scouts and check their reports screen for players, sometimes it is hard to judge what makes a good signing in the Blue Square, so your scouts reports could point you in the right direction.
FM 2013 lower league guide: Players

One area that seems to have changed drastically this year, the quality of players you can sign for Blue Square clubs is pretty poor. But if you have loaded the database previously mentioned your options will be a little wider. Lets begin with a few tips to help you find some gems.

  • If you are a complete newbie, click here to read some general tips. They may not be lower league related but the foundations are vital to learn before reading on.
  • When searching through the expired contracts and contracts expiring in 6 months, try unticking the ‘players out of scouting range’ option. This will unveil a host of talent from abroad, some will get a work permit, some won’t, but the field of talent is great.
  • The higher up the leagues you can purchase from, the better quality players you can sign, so always look to loan talent from above…remember you can sign four over 23′s and four 23 and under’s, that is almost a full squad. It is the only way you’ll get players with quality equal to sides a few divisions above you…bar the next tip of course.
  • And finally here’s a tip from Jake’s mate, when offering contracts you can bring wage demands down by installing a release clause, it will have to be fair to work but well worth doing if you want to turn the squad around every year anyway.

I know that isn’t much to go from, so here is an FM13 lower league shortlist consisting of the best FM 2013 free players in the BSP, there is a mixture of talent in here to also cover League 2. Remember you need to load the database mentioned previously or some of these players won’t be visible. To download this FM13 free BSP players shortlist just click the download button below and follow the instructions. This isn’t a huge list, just something to get you started.

How to install the shortlist in FM 2013

1. Put the downloaded file in this folder: Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2013/shortlists

2. Start your game and go to shortlists.

OK that will do for today, I hope the guide is of help and you enjoyed the read. Next up will be tactic does and don’ts as well as the formations I use. Until then I look forward to your comments, thanks for reading. Part two covering tactics is now available as is the follow up on tweaking tactics, just click the links below.

Part two - FM 2013 Lower League Guide: Two Tactics Are Better Than One

Part three – FM 2013 Lower League Guide: If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes

  57 Responses to “FM 2013 Lower League Guide: Setup And Free Players”

  1. You are not just a star, you are the sun which is the most impressive of all the visible stars. Thank you!

  2. I find getting a French scout can often really help, even though his scouting attributes are poor. Ask him to find known talent and he’ll find some great French gems. Attacking football and set pieces are vital in lower league on FM. I’m in the Championship with Tamworth in 2016, found some great regens in my second season from my poor French scout, touted the next Platini and Djibril Cisse.

  3. Great post Darren, lower league management is a lot harder this year. The database is something I never paid much attention too, when managing lower league I try to just sign better players and get through the season as quickly as possible to try get further up, which is probably why I fail. I will be using this for future reference, I really want to start a save in the lower leagues

    • I’m the same as you mate, I just want to get moving up the ladder as quick as possible, mainly because finances can implode if you don’t move forward but are paying the wages to do so. I too wasn’t one for thinking about the database but it makes a real difference.

  4. Well done mate. You should have posted earlier, missed the custom database part when i started the new story :) Looking forward to other series as well, hope to get some tips i may have missed.

  5. Great post mate, wish I did the database thing with Gateshead but ah well. Looking forward to part 2!

    Oh and another thing, in pre-season I have found setting general training to fitness and also team cohesion works.

  6. Another general tip with older players (they don’t even have to be that old) is that offering them a 1 year extension after x league games will encourage them to take lower offers. I do this with players in my Tottenham save and it often allows me to knock a fair few thousands off their wage demands and I would guess that the same trick can be used in lower leagues as well!

  7. Excellent guide Darren and an interesting and useful tip about the custom databae. Any idea when Part 2 will be available?

  8. When you load the game do you just load the english league to say league 2 and then the national rated players from the 3 continents? Or do you add other leagues into the game as you normally would?

    • Sorry I’m sure that’s answered in the post…

      ‘Just load England down to the lowest league you want to start in (or whichever country you plan on managing in.) But don’t select anymore countries, instead click ‘next’ and then select ‘custom’’

  9. Yes Darren York is my home town and I still recall Bootham Crescent with some nostalgia!

  10. Sorry Darren, I may be a bit daft for asking this, but here goes anyway: You say one gets more players from the custom database described in the post, but when I load a db this way (with 9 english divisions) I get an approx 44k players. Loading my normal setup gets me about 77k players.

    I am not questioning your knowledge of the game (which I trust blindly ;) ) but how is this more?
    Is this related to the amount of regens available?

    With regards
    the always annoying

    • Then your normal setup must have more than 5 countries loaded I assume, which is far too much for some gamers. The average gamer would load the major European nations and maybe Brazil. Now if you load just a few countries but not the custom database shown you will be extremely limited in every other nation that isn’t loaded.

      While in the BSP I would have missed two Czech players that got me promoted and then even four further players from Australia and Uruguay when in L2, those players won’t appear on any database bar the one shown or one with their respective nations loaded. Whereas the custom database shown provides a nice spread of players around every nation, and its in the lesser nations that you can find cheap talent, which you won’t get if you don’t load the custom database or the specific nation.

      The main reason more players show in your database load is because you have all the unknown players loaded in each country you add, those aren’t loaded in the custom database I mentioned. So I guess the best wording I could have used is that using this database filters out the crap so to speak and adds more relevant players you’d want to sign.

      • oh..ok :)
        I always load a minimum of 13 countries with around 36-50 leagues playable :)
        But it seems I have learned something new again. My performance level is 5 star, but the game speed is usually 1/2 star. Using your setup bumped me right up to a 2 star perf.lvl.

        Nice tip. I think I will go for your set up for new games, as my games tend to take a good while.
        Cheers mate :)

  11. Hi Darren, I’m having trouble loading up the download so I have no idea who to sign on a free. Can you tell me some of the better players?

    • At what point are you having trouble loading the shortlist?

      • I cannot access the Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2013/shortlists folder.

        • Just to clarify, after you have downloaded the file, you need to move it to documents/sports interactive/football manager 2013/shortlists

          Once the file has been moved to there you open up the game and enter your save as normal, then click the down arrow to the right of your manager name at the very top of the page, from that dropdown menu click shortlist, then in the next screen click the shortlist button with an arrow next to it and click import shortlist, it should then appear.

          • I don’t gave the shortlist folder though.

          • Then create one, just go into where the folder should be, right click on empty space and ‘create new folder’, name the folder shortlists and put the files in there.

  12. how.do.i.change.the.database.halfway.through.4.th.season

    • You can’t change the database, just add or remove certain nations. You can find that screen options (seen as ‘FM’ initials in game) and then ‘add/remove’ leagues. Once you’d done it the changes will take place at the start of the next season.

      • Thanks. I can’t sign any foreign scout or get any of my scouts to file a scouting report for any foreign players abroad. It says can’t afford to scout. But I have a profit of 1.1m with Havant & waterlooville

  13. Is there a similar database to this that will help me in the Blue Square North with Chester only with less players. My computer performance is 2 stars and I currently run 20,000 players at 2 star estimated game speed. My laptop has 3GB of ram and a Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU T4500 @ 2.30GHz and 2.30GHz. I am also running the game through Razer Game Booster. Thanks.

    • No, all you can do is knock off certain continents but you’ll obviously lose the number of players in those continents.

      • Thanks. I guess getting rid of North America would be the most sensible option.

      • Would Loading Europe and South America on a small database with national reputaion ticked (29,000 players on 1 star estimated game speed) be fine in terms of the range of players and the game speed?

  14. Looking to pick your Football Manager 2013 brain! Started up a game with York City and am coming across an issue I have never seen before. When I offer players to clubs certain bids are automatically rejected (unsure if they are less than the asking price as I never get to view them). The transfer instructions under “transfer status” are always set to “none specified” so I should have the option of viewing any bids received, also under “change staff responsibilities” I have full control of the transfers, oh and there is no Director of Football at York either!! ;) I must be missing something obvious but any ideas?! Cheers!

    • I know that when I offer a player out something similar happens but only if the bid is well below the players value even. You can see even rejected bids in the transfer centre though, it should show the value offered there.

      • Thanks Darren, appreciate that! I can see the transfers I reject in the transfer centre but not the auto rejected bids…as long as I know that they are less than the bids that I can view I don’t mind! It is a strange one though never had the trouble in previous games

  15. Hi Darren – great information! I just started out and didn’t do the custom list thing. It’s hard yards in the Scottish third division! Is there any way to load a database when you have already started? If not I may wipe it and start again. Can’t get much worse:) Thanks for the insight. This is a brilliant post. cheers!

    • I’m glad this has helped, unfortunately its bad news on changing the database, that can’t be done once the game has started, only while setting up. You can add and remove countries mid game but that isn’t what you need. Sorry.

  16. Thanks Darren. You have a great thread running here and the praise you have received is well justified. I’ll start again and see how i go. Thanks for your help.

  17. Hello Darren,

    Would appreciate your insight on a new project that i have, that i believe that is going to be tough… going to try to get Loures (portugal 3rd division) up in the sky, but they are only an amateur club with amateur contracts and really really small staff.
    Checked the “search” section of the game to see if i can improove somewhat what i have but it looks impossible because almost nobody appears when i tick the box for “unrealistic transfers”.
    Any suggestions or tips for my new project?

    Thanks in advance,

    • Sorry, I don’t know how to help there…I have never managed in Portuguese lower leagues so would be guessing.

      • Well, that wasn’t very helpfull… thanks anyway.

        • Would you rather I lied to you? I can’t be expected to know about every form of lower league football, if I know nothing about the Portuguese lower leagues and have never tried management there how do you expect me to know the answer to your question? I have never come across that problem you mentioned, so how can I know the answer? I don’t appreciate comments like that after I’ve written such long guides just to help people in the areas I do know…its not my fault that you are experiencing problems and if I could help believe me I would, as we always do here.

          • Im sorry it the comment felt somehow ungratefull, it surely was not my intention, i have a great respect about your work and with what you share with the community.
            Ive decided to leave the Loures project, its just way harder that i thought. I am going to embrace a new one with Portsmouth.
            Again, sorry for my unfortunate comment. Thanks.

          • Not a problem, forgotten and swept under the rug already. Good luck with Pompey.

  18. Hi there,

    Thank you for the guide – it is helping me learn the game and how to use tactics well. I’ve played a few of the previous titles but nothing seriously.

    I do however have an issue. I have updated my game to 13.3.3 or whatever Steam did the latest update too, followed your guide exactly for setting up the databases which is fine (done this many times in 2014 but it was my brothers game so since I had this I am playing this) but when I go to import the shortlist it worked fine the first time showing the keeper Meara but I messed up some negotiations with some of the other players so started again and set the game the exact same way loading the 13.3.3 and even tried the default one too but when I import the shortlist this time some players like Meara are not listed on it. The game is setup exactly as it was previously and I’ve now had the issue trying to do it several times and when searching for Meara he does not show.

    Is there anyway to fix this and I hope that makes sense as I cannot work out why your list is not showing the players again when it did the first time and not the second time with the same setup.

    Kind regards,


    • I’m sorry Robert, I can’t think of a logical reason for them not showing. If you started the new game with the custom database shown and setup exactly as mentioned then they should be there.

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