Five most interesting English clubs to start your career with in Football Manager 2018

by Alex Keble / 14 November 2017, 10:10

The first task of Football Manager 2018 is picking which club to manage, and if you’re bored of managing your favourite team then this can be a bit daunting.

For most players, the primary objective of Football Manager is to bring unexpected success to a club and/or lift them out of trouble, which means picking a club who are in desperate need of a new direction. That means any club in the middle of a project or generally on the up isn’t particularly exciting, while sleeping giants or recently relegated clubs are ripe for a revolution.

Here are five English teams to consider managing in FM18:

Aston Villa

  • Division: Championship
  • Transfer budget: £1m
  • Wage budget: £945k (£31k remaining)
  • Board expectation: Reach play-offs

One year after being relegated from the Premier League and after a drab season under Steve Bruce, it wouldn’t have been surprising had Aston Villa dispensed of their manager over the summer - and sought a new tactician to steer them back to glory. Your mission is to clear the deadwood in a squad bloated with overpaid players, and install a clear tactical identity - something that has been notably missing ever since the days of Martin O’Neill.

The task is made simpler by lower expectations than FM17, and although there isn’t much cash for new recruits Aston Villa possess arguably the strongest squad in the Championship. With outstanding facilities and a new chairman eager to spend big, Villa are the ideal club at which to build a dynasty.

Aston Villa

Blackburn Rovers

  • Division: League One
  • Transfer budget: £350k
  • Wage budget: £205k (£51k remaining)
  • Board expectation: Win the title

Blackburn’s relegation to League One came as no surprise to fans lamenting the Venky group’s dreadful mismanagement of a club who were playing Premier League football under Sam Allardyce just five years ago. They are in desperate need of a hero to revive this sleeping giant, and for those who are particularly romantic you can set yourself the challenge of getting to the Premier League in three years – exactly 25 years after their title-winning campaign under Kenny Dalglish.

A huge budget for League One means you should easily win the title and immediately begin pushing for the Championship play-offs.

Blackburn Rovers

West Ham United

  • Division: Premier League
  • Transfer budget: £32m
  • Wage budget: £1.72m (£126k remaining)
  • Board expectation: Mid-table

If you’d rather start at the top of the pyramid, then you won’t find a better project than West Ham, who boast an enormous stadium, a passionate fan base, and a rich history. Slaven Bilic’s poor start to the season makes this an intriguing challenge; you’ll need to get rid of some overpriced and ageing stars to make it work in the capital.

This is a fantastic starter club for the new game because pressure is low in year one - and the money keeps pouring in year after year. Can you bring fast-paced attacking football back to east London?

West Ham

Leyton Orient

  • Division: Vanarama National.
  • Transfer budget: £0
  • Wage budget: £27.4k (-£400 remaining)
  • Board expectation: Reach play-offs

Just three years ago Leyton Orient were a penalty shoot-out away from becoming a Championship side, but after narrowly avoiding extinction in June have just dropped out of the Football League for the first time in 112 years.

Orient have no money but a talented squad for the fifth tier, meaning promotion in year one is certainly possible, but achieving the romantic’s dream of carrying the Os to the Championship will require serious expertise – and patience. This is a challenge for only the most hardcore of Football Manager players.

Leyton Orient

Coventry City

  • Division: League Two
  • Transfer budget: £0
  • Wage budget: £42.7k (£-225 remaining)
  • Board expectation: Win the title

Another team in need of a great revival is Coventry City, who plummeted down the divisions in recent years following bankruptcy and disputes over their stadium. As the only club in a big city in the midlands, there is plenty of potential at Coventry, where you will need to rely upon their above average youth academy to achieve success.

Restoring Coventry to the top flight is a monumental task and arguably the least achievable on this list. Don’t have a go at this until you’ve gained some experience elsewhere.

Coventry City


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