STYLE OF PLAY
Your style of play is a crucial component of a winning game plan. Many CM2
players noticed that long ball and direct tactics used to work very well in the
game, perhaps too well. But the Wimbledon fans among you will find that with
the patch update there is no particular bias towards any particular style of
Effective formations now rely to a much greater degree upon the type of player
you have in your team.
The key to selecting a successful style of play is basically to have a good look
the players you have and make a judgement based around the resources available.
If you are Liverpool and by divine right have a squad full of talented players,
the passing style is the only one for you. Take on a smaller club where flair
players are likely to be thin on the ground and you might find that a more
direct or long ball approach is a quicker route to success than pretty much
The more continentally minded among you might wish to take over a club like
Lincoln and, as if on some evangelical mission, impose a passing regime on it.
Good luck, it's not easy to pass your way out of the lower Divisions, but the
will love you and it can be good preparation for when you eventually make the
big time and have to compete against the likes of Liverpool and Manchester
You'll need artists blessed with such gifts as: Passing, Creativity,
LONG BALL, DIRECT STYLE
Employ players who are the personification of: Strength, Stamina, Pace and
Different managers will each have their preferred formations, probably as a
of some childhood incident. The one rule of thumb is to always try, wherever
possible, to stick with your chosen tactical set-up. Contrary to opinion,
of your players up front, with ten minutes remaining, to try and haul back a
in an important Cup match can be counter productive. Your players will take
some time to adapt to their new positions and by the time they do it may be too
late, or your opponents will have murdered you on the counter attack. It-s
to have the courage of your convictions, and see a formation through a match
from beginning to end.
To make as quick an impact on your Division as possible, it's better to adopt a
positive rather than negative approach. Nothing sends your players' confidence
soaring like the primal act of scoring goals, and if they can get on a run they
hardly notice the odd goal flying into their own net. Thus a successful
philosophy, as well as being kinder on long suffering fans, is often more self-
sustaining than a defensive one.
Once you've established a formation that you're happy with, you can gradually
sign up players to fit specific roles - like the great Liverpool teams of the
80s did, or the Milan teams of recent times have done. When a player is past his
best or just not performing at his peak, then he can be replaced by a similar
The most common formation is the 4:4:2, and when constructing your dream team
around it you should look for the following:
KEEPER: Obviously. Look for Shot Stopping, Consistency and Stamina.
CENTRAL DEFENDERS: Try and get a good mix between an out-and-out
stopper like Tony Adams alongside a ball-playing defender like Phillipe Albert,
who is capable of instigating creative moves from the back.
FULL BACKS: While tackling is the main concern, it is useful to have at least
one with Pace, Stamina and Creativity to scamper up and down the flanks,
providing another attacking option for you.
CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS: it's useful to have at least one of your central
midfielders as a David Batty style anchor, capable of tackling and providing
FLANK MIDFIELDERS: These can also be called wingers in many cases. They
are the main players providing support for your front players and are thus very
important. You may well choose to dictate their movements by arrowing them
forward on the Tactics Screen. Creative flank midfielders should have Pace,
Creativity and Fantasy - essentially, the abilities of a maestro who can conjure
something from nothing.
STRIKERS: If you are playing with two main attackers, then it's very important
field a useful combination. A strong, powerful and determined front man is
recommended, basically a target man paired with a quicker, smaller, nippier
partner. If you do choose to play with two big strikers, then make sure that you
have plenty of width and players that can provide crosses. If you play with two
smaller penalty-box-style players, then make sure you have a creative, passing
central midfielder who can pick out the forwards with penetrative through-balls.
PLAYER FORM AND MORALE
You can splash out г15m on Alan Shearer or pick up a bargain basement Third
Division player on a free transfer, yet, despite the huge gulf in quality
players, their ability to transform a team is often only potential. After all,
Shearer is going through a form slump, then he contributes little more than
else regardless of his huge price tag. Form crises is an aspect of football that
every manager will face on a regular basis in CM2 and, as in real life, it is
impossible to predict when it will happen and when it will pass. If it does
out, then there are several options open to you. You can persevere with the
hoping that nature will run its course and he'll rediscover his touch and thank
for your faith in him. Otherwise, you can drop him to the bench or out of the
completely until he shows sign of improvement. There's no surefire solution to
this problem, but check out the player character stat. The higher the rating,
stronger the player's character and the more likely he is to accept your
a professional manner. It's certainly advisable to have, wherever possible, a
of model professionals like David Platt.
Player form and morale are linked very closely. If a player's form slumps, yet
remains quite happy and enthusiastic, then there shouldn't be too big a problem,
but once his morale slumps as well then you're
in major difficulties.
A chief cause of morale loss is a lack of first team opportunities for a player.
Accordingly, it is worthwhile to try to give your fringe players first team
experience from time to time to keep them settled. Play them in low-risk Cup
matches or even specifically arranged friendly matches to test them out.
Many managers have cause to curse
injuries, especially when a star player has been out of action for a while and
comes back displaying much poorer form. The only positive thing you can do is to
allow a player to reach 100% fitness before he becomes an automatic
consideration for your side. You may be tempted to start an important player for
big match when he has just recovered from an injury and his fitness level is
around 75%. This probably won't contribute all that much to your side and you
run the risk of delaying his recovery in the long term.
Naturally, one of the first areas where a new manager wants to make an
impression is on the transfer front. New managers with cash to spend tend to
instinctively delve into the transfer market in an attempt to bolster their
without, perhaps, taking the time and trouble to give the existing players a
to prove themselves.
At least try them out first, before deciding to make wholesale changes. Remember
that individual player ratings are only a guide to a player's potential ability.
fringe player, doing well on an extended run, will soon see his ratings soar
Even if your raw materials leave much to be desired, bear in mind that
management is a long-term job and in CM2, perhaps more than in real life, you'll
be given plenty of time to impose your personality on a team, even if initial
have you looking anxiously at the "vacancies" section of the newspaper. But if
your players just aren't up to the job, then it's time to shop around the
However, the added advantage of holding fire, before plunging into the market,
that most other clubs will have fought each other at the start of the season for
players of their choice, often inflating prices as they attempt to outbid each
By mid-season there are more options open to you, especially as, by then, many
clubs have come to terms with their own squad's strengths and weaknesses,
dumping extraneous players onto the market, or offering them for loan or a free
Even if you're a massive club, there's no reason why you should discount free
transfer players. Many of them will be youngsters that other clubs simply don't
have the patience or room for.
Taking players on loan is also another cheap way of obtaining player resources.
Plus, with these players, you can try before you buy. Observing how a player
into your team is a big advantage, and you know that when a player is available
for loan then his club will invariably consider firm offers for his services.
look at the clubs with the biggest squads, keeping an eye out for positions
the team is well catered for, perhaps having four or five players all competing
the same position. The fringe players might not be officially available for
but their clubs will often look favourably at unsolicited approaches.
Transfer listed players are easier to deal with than players who are generally
happy to stay at their club. With players on the official transfer market you
usually get away with paying a bit less than the asking price. Similarly the
will accept smaller wages.
As a rule of thumb regardless of whether you are trying to sign a player on a
transfer, take him on loan or negotiate a mega million pound deal, you should
more notice of his appearances, goals and averages for the season than his
individual stats. As mentioned before, it is better to buy a player with lesser
attributes but better form than vice versa.
The financial structure of CM2 is not hugely complicated. Your basic purpose is
to raise as much cash as possible to spend on players without exhausting your
cash supplies and hiking up your wage bill so much that your club is losing
thousands of pounds every week. Oh yes it is. Success brings obvious financial
benefits like prize money, increased gate receipts and sponsorship funds, but it
useful if, from the outset, you can reduce the amount of cash that your club
out on unnecessary player wages.
Most squads will start with up to 30 players and after you've tried them out,
decided which ones feature in your long-term plans, then it's prudent to flog
dead wood off as soon as possible. Most clubs should be able to operate with 20-
man squads. This helps not only to reduce costs, but also to increase your
purchasing power when it comes to new signings. How often have you found your
dream player, only to find they want wages just out of your financial reach?
The machinations of the game engine are incredibly complicated and even now
gameplay quirks are still being discovered that seem to work better than others.
For example, older players seem to do very well indeed compared with
equivalently rated youngsters, with their experience and wisdom acting as a
galvanising effect on younger team members. Accordingly, managers of lower
division sides might look to pursue old crocks like Peter Beardsley and Ian
Wright, who, despite approaching the twilight of their footballing careers,
have much to offer, especially in the lower divisions.
One of the most common questions asked is, which players are the best ones to
sign? There is no one correct answer to this as it all depends upon
at the end of the day. Most managers will buy players again and again if they've
proved successful in previous games, but even that is no sure-fire guarantee.
takes is for that player to rupture his spleen in a freak training incident and
completely out of action for 18 months for that philosophy to suddenly go
Most managers would be quite happy to pursue international players in the
transfer market, but this can prove impractical, especially in England, when
of the present international squad would cost at least г4-5 million. That is why
international players are useful to buy. Take a typical ex-England international
aged between 30 and 35 and you are unlikely to ever pay more than г1-1.5
million for a player in contract. With player longevity an increasingly common
feature of football today, and the likes of Ray Wilkins still playing in his
and even Peter Shilton still around as he nears fifty, there is no reason why
can't get five good years of service. If you can't get your hands on quality
or English ex-internationals, then try shopping abroad. Great managers have said
that the ideal average age of a team is 28. See what yours is.
When buying foreign players, your best bet is to hunt around for top players or
indeed veteran ex-internationals from the main European countries: Italy,
Germany, Spain and France. Due to the UEFA co-efficients, these countries'
leagues are more highly rated in CM2 than the English or Scottish Leagues, so
it-s normally safe to assume that if you're signing someone with a good track
record from one of these countries, then the very fact that they've proven
themselves at a higher standard means that they should be at least as effective
our backwater leagues.
The Bosman ruling gives managers carte-blanche to put together multi-national
squads. But although it's early days, there is a school of thought that applies
CM2, which reckons trying to meld too many different footballing cultures and
styles within one team can be counter-productive. When people think of the best
team in recent memory, they think of the Milan side with the Dutch trio of
Rijkaard and Van Basten. It is also worth remembering that there were eight
Italians in that team. The safest long-term approach, however, is to build a
predominantly composed of players from your home nation, supplemented by a
light garnish of foreign stars.
The AC Milan team of the early '90s and the Inter Milan team of the same period
both set out their stalls using imports of the same nationality. Inter had the
imposing German triumvirate of Brehme, Matthaus and Klinsmann to counter
Milan's Dutch connection. Thus in CM2, as in life, establishing some sort of
continuity with foreign purchases can be advantageous. If you set a precedent by
signing players from a certain country, it could give you the edge when it comes
to persuading further talent hailing from those parts to join you, instead of
A point that cannot be emphasised enough is to pay as much attention to a
current form as his overall stats. It is far better to have an inexpensive
playing well than a multi-million pound superstar performing poorly. You will
find that player valuations can fluctuate wildly. At the beginning of the game
your shortlist with players in whom you are interested. Even if they are not
available at the time, you can at least keep an eye on them and their progress
the seasons ahead. It is not uncommon to find that a player initially worth
г7m soon becomes bargain basement for a variety of reasons: poor present form,
low morale, lack of first team opportunities, injuries, etc. This is the moment
pounce. In this situation both player and club will be more susceptible to your
approach and there is no reason why your purchase cannot quickly recover form if
he joins you.
Similarly, you should always keep an open mind about selling your top players if
the price is right. An average player enjoying a purple patch of good form can
suddenly become hot property, with a price-tag to match, as interested parties
batter down your door to speak to him. This is where the Player Exchanges
feature can be highly useful. It may be wise to cash in by picking a replacement
who is a better long-term bet while still making money on the deal. Look at
Newcastle United and Andy Cole, for instance.
You may not be interested in international management, but it's still worth
keeping your eye on the key international performers. After all, if a player can
the business at the very highest level of the game, then he could well do a job
you. Watching out for emerging internationals at an early stage, especially from
Eastern European, African or South American countries, can pay off as you snap
up good players before other top clubs get a sniff.
STRIKING A BALANCE
We previously touched upon cutting your squad to a minimum to pare your wage
bill, and if you decide to follow this approach, the next step is the actual
composition of players within your squad. Assuming you are settled on a fixed
formation, it is best to sort out the players whom you would expect to be first-
team regulars, fringe players and promising youngsters. If you decide to play
strikers at any one time, then there is little point in signing up Shearer,
Fowler and Ravanelli, as you'll always have two world class players on the bench
or in the stands. Such an approach will always leave you with unsettled players
your hands in the short to medium term, and they won't be as productive when
they're called upon, thanks to their poor morale and general unhappiness. A
four-striker route would be to have a main top pairing of, say, Shearer and
Wright. They'd be backed up by the type of player who could do the job, but
wouldn't necessarily expect a first-team place ahead of the main strikers - take
Dean Saunders, for example. The fourth striker would be an up-and-coming
player like Michael Branch of Everton. This theory should be applied to all
of your team.
Always remember that CM2 is a long-term game - it does run for 30 seasons, after
all. The most successful manager in Britain at the moment is Alex Ferguson, yet
took him nearly seven seasons to win the title with Manchester United.