Guide to Lower League Management

Have you ever played a Lower League Management Save on Football Manager? No? You have no idea what you are missing out on! Lower League Management (aka LLM) is by far the most challenging way to play the game. Managing a Premier League club or a club from Spain, Italy and or Germany is pretty much always the same. You start, buy (the same) young talents, hit the space bar and after a few years you dominate the League and win the Champions League. LLM is completely different, or as Louis van Gaal said: a different cookie!.


There is no way of playing FM that is as unforgivable as LLM. But when you reach that goal, the satisfaction will be the best of all. Playing LLM is not for everybody, but for those who like a challenge and have the patience to 'get there' the hard way. In this Guide we will discuss the Basics of LLM and give you some tips and hints to help you on your way in maybe your first ever LLM-game!



Lower League Management is played all the way down the Football Ladder in Football Manager. LLM is amateur or semi-professional football. You play in the divisions where there a no big stadiums, where the pitches ain't silky smooth and where the fans are scarce. When playing LLM you are not able to pay high transfer fees or pay high wages. LLM is basically 'Back to Basic' and will require a lot of knowledge of the game. 


LLM is not a game you play in between other games. LLM is a way of life!





To play Lower League Management you have to respect the rules of the game. One of the main rules in LLM is playing the game in a realistic way. That means you will not be able to use some options in the game. These options are available to make the life of a manager more easy, whilst a realistic Lower League Manager will not have these aids at his disposal.


The Basic Rules of LLM are:

  • Only use tactics you create on your own
  • Your are not allowed to use the Player- or Staff Search in the game
  • You only buy players that are found and recommended by your Scouts
  • Only sign staff by placing an advert
  • The Use of FM-Tools (like Genie Scout) is not allowed
  • No Rage Quits after you lose a game or miss promotion
  • Don't use exploits in the game (Corner Bug)
  • Do not sign too many foreigners (For example a Full Squad of French Players on the English 8th Level)


For an advanced explanation of the Basic LLM Rules we redirect you to



Leagues that meet the requirements for a Lower League save are:

  • Vanarama Conference North & South (England)
  • Serie C (Italy)
  • Segunda Division B (Spain)
  • 3. Bundesliga (Germany)
  • CFA (France)
  • Derde klasse (Belgium)
  • Serie C (Brazil)


You can also start a LLM save in countires like Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Northern-Ireland and Malaysia. It is also possible to download extra League for FM that can bring you even lower than the standard Leagues available. You can download some of these Extra Leagues in our Download Centre.


Difficulty Levels

There different levels of difficulty for LLM. For a Rookie LLM it is advised to start a LLM-save in England. It is a little bit easier to play in Engeland, as the financial part makes it easier to play. LLM Saves in countries like Indonesia and Northern-Ireland are more difficult.


De Vanarama Leagues in England are perfect to learn about LLM





Think Ahead

Because the world can change quickly in LLM you will have to Think and Plan ahead. When you are in the middle of the season you have to look ahead to the following year. What will be your level? What are your goals? What do you have to spend? 


Sign Players on Short Contracts

This is actually part two of the tip above. In LLM your main goal is to promote to a higher division. In a higher division, you need better players. You can't sign better players, if your current squad is on long term contracts. So when you sign a player; sign him on a one year (maximum of 2 years) contract. Therefore you can easily get rid of him if the player doesn't match the needed quality.


Nobody is irreplaceable! 

One of the Standard rules of LLM is: Everybody can be replaced! You don't have players like Messi at your disposal, so there is always a better or cheaper player available! So don't be sad that a player won't extend his contract or is unhappy; just let them go. You will find an alternative.


Sign Players on Loan! 

What is the easiest way to improve your squad without spending money? Signing Players on Loan! Big Clubs have large Youth Squads and will be delighted to send you one or even two players for a season long Loan. And more important; clubs will not demand any compensation for it! That way you can save money on your Wage Budget!


Look for Physical instead of Technical

In LLM having a player with an extremely good physique is more important than having a player with 20 for Finishing. Therefore: always sign the players who have a great physique! Having Fast Strikers, Very Strong Central Defenders or a Midfielder with a great Stamina can be the difference between winning or losing.


For example: A Striker that has 1 for finishing, could score 30 goals a season with high Overall Speed, only because he will be much faster than most of his opponents. See the screen below. He is crap Technically, but he is fantastic Physically. This guy could easily outrun his opponent and score a lot of goals for your team.




Roam the Free Transfer Market

You barely have money to keep your head above the water, so don't go spending your money on Transfer Fees. There will always be a player available on either the Free Transfer Market or on the Loan Market.


Offer Trials instead of Scouting

A fast and cheap way of judging a players quality is having him on trial. You do not have 40 scouts available to watch players during matches, so you have to be smart about it. Offer a player a trial for 4 weeks and have him play Friendly Matches with your Reserves (you will have to plan these). That way you will be able to judge his ability a lot quicker than through scouting the player.


Look for and sign Versatile Players

Because of the lack of money it is impossible to have two players for every position as a Lower League Manager. Therefore; sign Versatile Players who can play in more than one position. That way you can easily cope with a suspended or an injured player.


Quality above Potential

In LLM there is one thing that counts and that is (always) the Current Season. So when signing a player pay less attention to someones Potential, but look at his Current Ability. A 16 year old with a 5 star Potential could have a 1 star potential in a higher division.


Cut the Youth Set Up

Even clubs in the Lowest Leagues available could have a Youth Squad and Youth Facilities. Great if you want to play the game by only using Youth Players, but in any other game this will cost you money. In other words; you will want to get rid of these players as fast as possible. In some cases it is even possible to shut down your Youth Facilities. That way you can save money. Then when the time is right, you can request your Board to reinstall the Youth Set Up.


Don't expect Clean Sheets

Results like 6-6, 7-5 en 10-3 are very normal in LLM, so don't expect a lot of Clean Sheets. Important in LLM is that you outscore your opponents by any means necessary. 


Keep it Simple!

Your Players lack Game Intelligence on LLM Levels. So keep your tactics simple and basic. Only use Team Instructions and leave the specific Player Instructions. 




User Feedback

Dan begin je in de Vanarama Conference en kies je zelf een club :e Goede leerschool voor de LLM'er. Paar mooie clubs ook ertussen zoals Bath en Gloucester :thumb: 


Share this comment

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you say sign only players scouts/staff have found but you can sign free agents, do you look for yourself or ask scouts to find them for you?


Share this comment

Link to comment
Share on other sites
On 6/22/2017 at 7:33 PM, Aldoshaw said:

When you say sign only players scouts/staff have found but you can sign free agents, do you look for yourself or ask scouts to find them for you?


ask scouts


Share this comment

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now