Football Manager – Moneyball Guide 

This will hopefully be a very simple guide as to how the Moneyball theory works in Football Manager. There have been various amounts of content out there relating to Moneyball however, for those who do not have the time to read or watch through hours of videos, this guide is for you. I have seen first-hand that, the Moneyball save can sometimes be made out to be like it’s from another planet, but I can assure you that is not the case. 

If you want to know the background of where Moneyball came from and all that jazz, then FM Stag has a write up on his site for this or Jack (ThecultofFM) on his Youtube channel has a playlist of him doing a step by step walkthrough on how this works. This guide is high level and to the point, so will not start going into detail on where it come from etc.  However, I have put some links below if you want to look into the background in more depth, which will for sure help make sense of the Moneyball theory via FM:


The Cult Of FM:

Mini Documentary on How Data Has Changed Football:

Who Is Known To Use Moneyball In Football:

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 29: Ivan Toney of Brentford is sprayed with champagne as he takes a selfie photo with his team mates as they celebrate winning the Sky Bet Championship Play-off Final between Brentford FC and Swansea City at Wembley Stadium on May 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Brentford are the most linked to the moneyball theory in football today. They have rised from League 2 all the way to the Prem using this model and having their recruitment on point. Here are some examples of where Brentford made huge profit over the last few seasons: 

  • Said Benrahma – Signed for 1.5M – Sold for 20.7M 
  • Ezri Konsa – Signed for 2.5M – Sold for 11.9M 
  • Neal Maupay – Signed for 1.8M – Sold for 20M 

The above looks fairly standard but there is a huge list of examples that could be shared. In FM terms it looks like Brentford just found some gems and sold them on for a profit, but its far from that. Brentford firstly used statistical data to spot certain metrics which caught their eye and worked with their scouting department to watch these players over a period of time. For example, Maupay may not have scored so many goals but may have had a higher Xg or a good shot on target ratio per 90. This can then become useful for instance if he is part of a team that can provide for him, then he is more likely to put one of those chances away. 

From there, the scouting team could predict the likelihood of these players developing in the future and knew that they would not pick up these players on a much cheaper rate if they were to buy players from clubs in the same division or higher. Hence why they went abroad and recruited from lower divisions from countries such as France, Denmark, Ireland. All of the signings were carefully thought-out and knowing that over time and development, they would sell them on for a profit and then recycle then execute all over again. 

How Is Moneyball Used In Football Manager: 

Football Manager has become more in depth over the years and thanks to advanced searching, data hub’s etc, we can use the Moneyball theory on FM which has had people find a new way to enjoy the game, rather than just be a team win a league and that’s it. This theory is more of a project minded save, which is long term rather than short term. In short, this is what Moneyball via FM consists of: 

  • Hidden Attributes – You are not able to see a players attributes such as if a strikers finishing is 15 (you will have to use data to figure out if the striker is worth a buy). This also goes for staff as you need to find them without the use of simple searches 
  • You cannot just sign players based on a quick player search or buying them without any thought process (will be explained in a further blog) 
  • Pre-Season will be key to figure out which players are strong enough to start vs not 
  • It is a long term project rather than a 1 season wonder 

Why Backroom Staff Is Crucial: 

Recruitment is obviously the most important part of this type of save. However, bringing in the right staff is crucial if you want to succeed on this save. The main reason is because the assistant first of all, is the one who will be giving you intel on your players. The assistant, will be helping you with reporting on the players current ability, potential and so much more such as traits which will help you build a profile of the player. The assistant can also help pick your strongest line up, so if you are in a league where you are not aware of the players, this can come in handy. There will be an extension write up on how to find yourself the right staff for your team.

How To Turn Attributes Off: 

  • On the start screen or via Menu go to preferences 
  • Advanced/Most common – Here you will find “Skin colours” 
  • Where the column “A”, turn all these into 0 as per below 
  • When you save your changes, go into a player and it should look something like this (don’t be frightened)  

How Do I know How Good My Player Is Now: 

When you turn off your attirbutes, it can be quite daunting to see the players has no attributes to show! However, there is plenty of things in place which will help you decide how good a player is such as: 

  • Ability/Potential rating – This will show you the players current ability and potential which is a big help for you to see if they are good enough for the team 
  • In Reports, the assistant will have a report one each player to show its strengths vs weaknesses. This is a good guide on what to expect from the player and can show up things such as “set piece taker”  
  • Use Pre-season as a guide to view your players performance levels  

How Do I Look At My Players In Depth Statistics In 1 View: 

This squad view in pre-season will look rather blank initially however, for the competitive season it will start to populate with data as per below: 

This at the moment looks rather confusing but just look at it in general rather than the details behind it. For example, Elia has a rating of 5.89 for shots per 90 whereas Kishna the other winger has a rating of 1.93 which is much lower. So, common sense would tell us that Kishna is not performing as well and therefore may be an idea to try another winger to see if they can improve the shots per 90.

Another example can be, if your striker is struggling to score, you can look at data such as Xg, Shot Per 90, Shots On Target Per 90 and try giving another striker a go to see if they improve in these metrics. Each type of metric has been sectioned out for each position, to give you a better idea on what to look for when observing the data. Over time, this data will be a much easier read and you will be able to see the data look fairly similar for each of the players in the same positions. Such as, the centre backs will have a much higher heading % than any other position etc.

The view that I have here can be easily downloaded and added as per below:

How to plug in: 

Once you click the current view at the top (highlighted), select “custom” and then “import view”. Find the view wherever you downloaded the link above and job done!  

As mentioned, this write up is a general overview on how Moneyball works. On the extension write ups, I will be going over the following:

  • How to Bring In Staff
  • How to Recruit Players
  • The use of Data Hub
  • Ideal save to try for the Moneyball Theory

If you have any questions at all on this write up, in relation to the Moneyball Theory, you can contact FM GEGEN via twitter.

4 thoughts on “Football Manager – Moneyball Guide 

  1. I enjoyed reading this. Following the YouTube series of TheCultofFM and I plan on following his footsteps on FM. Still thinking of the team to start it with

    1. Thank you so much! My next few blogs will help you with this, especially for which team to start this with , stay tuned

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