Football Manager Staff The Recruitment Team

The Role of a Director of Football

Welcome to my new series on the Backroom Staff in Football Manager. This post covers the Role of a Director of Football in Football Manager.

Welcome to my Football Manager staff guide, where I’ll be putting the spotlight onto each of the staff roles in Football Manager in an attempt to get a better understanding around what the function does, and how you can use it to maximise your results at the club. I have written these guides through the viewpoint of how I like to play Football Manager, so I will cover a lot of my gameplay ideas that you can bring into your saves. This week I take a look at how I utilise the role of a Director of Football.

Version date 31 July 2020 • 1.0 - Written for Football Manager 2020

Introduction to the Role of a Director of Football

If you’re a reader of my Football Manager saves, you’ll know that I use a Director of Football quite extensively. When it comes to trying to play as realistically as possible, I give him more responsibility than most would feel comfortable with, like negotiating incoming and outgoing transfers and dealing with the player contracts; both new signings and renewals.

While I won’t quite let him decide on the targets just yet, there’s a lot here that he has responsibility for.

I know this style of play isn’t for everyone and the thought of handing over responsibility for the transfer budget would give some players sleepless nights, but the realism this adds to the game, in my opinion, is worth it. I always say that the day Pep Guardiola (or any other manager) sits down with a 17-year-old Wonderkid or a Physio to go through the finite details of a contract renewal, is the day I’ll believe it’s more realistic to handle the money side of the game.

Automatic wage increases in player contracts
Automatic wage increases in player contracts

He doesn’t always make the right decisions, and I’ve cursed the news items informing me that a player’s wage will increase to astronomical levels due to making five international appearances. However, you take the good with the bad.

Txiki Begiristain - Manchester City Director of Football
Txiki Begiristain – Manchester City Director of Football

Welcome to the role of a Director of Football.

What Does a Director of Football Do in Football Manager?

The Director of Football forms part of your Recruitment Team, a team which covers all things scouting and transfers. It stands to reason that they don’t get involved with coaching (except for being able to assist with some match responsibilities) or the medical side of the club. 

While the Technical Director generally handles all things transfer related on the staff side, the Director of Football will handle all things transfer related on the player side. The Director of Football can involve themselves with some staff duties, like hiring and firing staff, however, they will generally find themselves more involved with the players at the club.

The decision about who does what is one only you can make. You don’t need to split the roles out between players and staff, and you don’t even need to hire for both roles, but I like to try and keep things structured and have two very specific and specialist roles at the club.

The Director of Football sits at Director level, alongside the Technical Director. They cannot be responsible for the dealings of staff at or above their level. For example, a Director of Football cannot fire either the Technical Director or the First Team Manager. Nevertheless, they can fire anyone below them, should you delegate this responsibility to them.

The Director of Football Responsibilities

As I alluded to earlier, the Director of Football and—should you choose to work with one—the Technical Director can cross over when assigning responsibilities. For me though, I have a very clear vision in my head about what I want each role to do.

Staff organisation chart - Role of a Director of Football
Staff organisation chart

Above you can see the Manager is in the Coaching Team, so this for me is where my responsibilities sit, I coach the team, and I am responsible for results on the pitch. The Director of Football works in the Recruitment Team alongside the Technical Director, so he is very much in charge of most things recruitment.

When looking to assign staff responsibilities in Football Manager, the Director of Football can help with the following:

  • Hiring and firing of the staff for your first, reserve and youth teams
  • Negotiate contract renewals for your players and staff
  • Assign your scouts and handle the scouting meetings
  • Sign players, handle incoming transfer offers and take care of the development loans
  • Deal with the media press conferences
  • Help with some tactical decisions like tactical briefings and opposition instructions
  • They can even deal with touchline instructions and team talks

Read more » Staff Responsibilities in Football Manager

For this section, however, I’m only going to cover my approach when using a Director of Football in Football Manager and the responsibilities I set them.

When I take over a new club, I will usually delegate a lot of the tasks to the staff. I’m a Football Manager, I don’t want to be dealing with contract negotiations and looking after the youth teams. My first bit of business is to hire a Director of Football if the club does not already have one. Once in place, the following responsibilities are assigned to them.

Hiring and Firing the Reserve and Youth Team Managers

I will always pick my own staff for the first team. I need my people around me. However, the reserve and youth teams are handled for me. My Director of Football will find and put in place the managers for the reserve and youth teams. I’m not sure why I do it this way, just a habit I guess. The Technical Director, on the other hand, will hire all the staff for the reserve and youth teams.

Transfers and Contracts Responsibilities

This is where things get a little complicated, but I’ll try to explain it as best I can. When it comes to transfers and contracts I prefer to have as little involvement here as possible. My only involvement is to sit down with the scouting team and go through the players that they have found in every position and make sure our shortlists cover us for each position, should we lose a player or need to make an upgrade.

Most teams I manage are lower down in the food chain, so when our players outgrow us they’ll be sold. I need to have backups listed and ready to go so we can be as proactive as possible. Below, I will take you through:

  • Player signings
  • Contract renewals
  • Player sales

Player Signings

I am fortunate enough to have a team of 14 scouts around the world, constantly finding me players to fit the 4-1-4-1 DM Wide system that we use. As you can see we have a very healthy number of players scouted for each position. I won’t go into my approach to scouting since I’ve already written about that, but the idea here is to make sure that we have enough players scouted so that should we need to react to a player sale, we have options lined up.

Scout Shortlists
Player Shortlist - AMR Inside Forwards
Player Shortlist – AMR Inside Forwards

This view above is excellent as I can see all right-sided Inside Forwards and sort them by scout recommendation. Using the cog on the top left you can change the formation in the pitch to one of the tactics that you use. This is a custom view I set up, and selecting the Inside Forward right position I can see the recommended players current ability compared with the players I already have at the club who can play in this position.

If I am looking to strengthen in a particular position, I will review the shortlists that the scouts have curated and then move them to the Director of Football transfer targets list.

Right Click > Transfer > Add as Transfer Target > select list > Transfer

Add player to Transfer Targets list
Adding a player to a Transfer Targets list
Transfer Targets List

Transfers > Director of Football > Transfer Targets

Over the course of the season, I will get an idea for where I want to strengthen, and this will either be because a player has an interest in him so I expect them to leave, or that their performances are dropping off so I want to sell. Either way, when there’s an area of the squad that needs strengthening I set up a new group in the Transfer Targets section and add players to it.

Director of Football Transfer Targets list
Director of Football Transfer Targets list

Above you can see that I have identified a few players so far. They’re all on hold at the moment as it’s only April in my save so still some time to fill out these lists. I will be scouting and adding to them throughout the season as a need is identified. When a player is found he is added to the list and prioritised.

The top list is the Inside Forward right position and I have three players identified. Each target is given a priority from first to third. When I have the position filled I will then close the group down and keep the players removed on my shortlist and then move onto the next list.

I make sure I set the proposed playing time, e.g., if the player is going to be a regular for me I will set this as a regular starter. This means that he will get a contract reflective of his position in the squad and that his agreed playing time is realistic. You don’t want a backup player being told he will be important as this would cause them to become unhappy pretty quickly.

The Director of Football will make offers for these players one by one in order from top to bottom. Offering a transfer value and wage in line with the proposed playing time I think they’ll get when they arrive. If I have an urgent need for a position to be filled, I will change the priority of the group from normal to urgent using the dropdown to the left of the name of the list.

You can set the proposed playing time and manually adjust the maximum offer for transfer and wage if you want a bit more control but I will usually leave this at automatic and if we don’t get the player then move on to the next. You will generally find that the wages offered to players fall in line with the current squad wages for the playing time on offer.

Finances > Wages

Squad wages grouped by player status
Squad wages grouped by player status

There’s a bug with displaying the average basic wage here, but for an important player it is around €150K p/w at Rennes so anyone who you sign with this proposed playing time you can expect to have a wage offered at around this amount. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, however. Sometimes they could be much lower or much higher as evidenced by my lowest and highest basic wages above.

When It Doesn’t Work

Of course, this isn’t a silver bullet to signing players in Football Manager. There’s a lot that can go wrong. Some clubs just value players too high, some players are not interested and reject our contracts. How many times do we see clubs miss out on players they’re trying to sign in real life? It happens. It happens a lot, so I expect us to miss out on a lot of our targets, too!

Director of Football negotiating player transfers
Director of Football negotiating player transfers

Sometimes, though, Txiki just forgets that he’s no longer at Manchester City and that he doesn’t have an endless pot of legitimate sponsorship money to call upon for transfers.

It’s not all bright lights and disco balls, but it adds to the magic of letting someone else deal with transfers for you. As a human player, it is very easy to manipulate the transfer market to get players in who you might not ordinarily be able to.

Transfers cancelled due to funds - why didn't he know?
Transfers cancelled due to funds – why didn’t he know?

With the Director of Football taking control, all of that is out of your hands.

Contract Renewals

With contract renewals, again, I will have the responsibility assigned to myself but will delegate the actual offering of contracts to the Director of Football.

Negotiate contract renewal
Negotiate contract renewal

Player Sales

This is where things get interesting. I have had to get creative in order to make the transfer system at the club work as I envisage in real life.

When it comes to player sales this is all part of the role of a Director of Football in my opinion. Like with player signings, I don’t want to have any input here, other than deciding which players I’m willing to let go and which players I’m not. Well, every player has their price.

Transfers and Contracts Advice Summary

My Director of Football and I will sit down once a week and have a chat about the squad.

These chats include looking at who we should consider offering a new contract to, and which players are considering asking for a new contract. We will look at players who should be out on loan, playing at a higher level or getting more regular football.

We will chat about players whose asking price is perhaps too low so that we can get the right offers in for players. Finally, my Director of Football will also keep me updated with the actual playing time individual players are getting and suggest that we adjust the agreed playing time with the player.

Adjusting the agreed playing time helps with keeping players happy who are not getting the game time they expect. Öztürk will now be less likely to come to me if he isn’t getting a regular game. I also include the actual vs. proposed playing time in my default squad view (below).

Transfers and contracts advice summary
Transfers and contracts advice summary
Setting the Asking Price for Every Player

The Director of Football is set to handle incoming offers for first-team players. This is all options including negotiating and finalising players sales. This means that when offers come in I don’t have to deal with them. From a players transfer status screen, you can see that when a transfer offer is received then a staff member will respond.

Setting a player’s asking price

In order to ensure we’re not losing players I don’t want to lose, or that we’re getting the right value for players, I will set the asking price of every single player in my squad.

Above you can see Maxence Baptise who I have at Stade Rennais. He is quite an important player for me, but one who I will let go if we receive an offer of around €84M, which is about 50% above his market value. Every single player in my squad has an asking price. This is the price that I’m willing to let them go for. Generally speaking, those who are unavailable for transfer will be assigned an asking price north of €120M which generally deters interest. Those absolutely key players will be closer to €150M.

What you will find with this approach is that clubs won’t allow you to negotiate the transfer when an offer is made, so make sure you regularly check the asking prices of your players. With Gilles Schmitt, I set his at €150M and Manchester United made a non-negotiable offer for this amount which was accepted. Considering I sold a player who I didn’t value as much for €165M I should have reviewed his asking price, but that’s still a very good piece of business.

Squad details view - displaying players' asking prices against their value
Squad details view – displaying players’ asking prices against their value
Negotiating Player Sales

When a transfer offer is received from a club, this is then dealt with, quite rightly, by my Director of Football. As alluded to earlier, the Director of Football has a non-negotiable offer to deal with, this seems to be the standard when an asking price is set for a player.

Director of Football rejecting bids that don't match my asking price
Director of Football rejecting bids that don’t match my asking price

Since this offer is below his asking price, Txiki will deal with Real Madrid and reject the transfer. What you will usually find is that this upsets the players. Especially when teams like Real Madrid come calling. With this approach, however, you can ask your Director of Football to deal with the players when they inevitably complain.

Players can become unhappy if you reject bids for them
Players can become unhappy if you reject bids for them

Sometimes I will speak with the player if I feel like I can influence their decision (Level of Discipline 20), however, in most cases I will let Txiki deal with them.

Director of Football taking over player interactions when transfer bids blocked
Director of Football taking over player interactions when transfer bids blocked

I wouldn’t say I’m a hands-off manager, but my job is to coach the team and lead them out on a Saturday for matches. I don’t want to be involved in contract disputes, signings and sales. I’ll have my transfer list ready at the beginning of the summer and make sure that all player values are set correctly so that over the course of the transfer window all the comings and goings are dealt with for me.

If we do lose a player at the last minute that I wasn’t expecting, then I can refer back to my scout shortlists and create a new transfer target group and hope that we can get a replacement in.

Dealing with the Media

Finally, the last thing I ask of my Director of Football is to deal with the media when we make new signings.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, Alexander Isak, and Michael Zorc
Hans-Joachim Watzke, Alexander Isak, and Michael Zorc

There are too many media interactions for me. I know this is what the modern game is like now, but if I can cut down the amount of time spent in front of the camera then I will. He can deal with the press.

Setting up the Director of Football Responsibilities

So I’ve taken you through the process I have in place at my club and how I interact with my Director of Football, so this is how I get it to work as I have it.

Staff > Responsibilities > Staff > Advice and Reports

Advice and reports within staff responsibilities
Advice and reports within staff responsibilities

In order to have my weekly cup of tea with Txiki, I setup a report to come to me every week for Transfers and Contracts (highlighted above). Selecting the row opens up some advice topics below to select from (not a lot of people know about this!) and you can choose to receive as much or as little information as you like. I have everything selected.

Staff > Responsibilities > Transfers and Contracts

Transfers within staff responsibilities
Transfers within staff responsibilities

Scary, I know, but this is how my transfers and contracts responsibilities look. This is fairly new to me but the only thing I control here is initiating player signings. I don’t initiate anything, but I don’t want my Director of Football finding players to sign, that’s my job with the scouting team. It is very important that if you do this, you make sure that your players have a realistic asking price because when the offers come in, you’re not going to be able to say no to them.

The Director of Football will have full control like this over players in the reserves and the under 19s, too.

Staff > Responsibilities > Contracts

Contracts within staff responsibilities
Contracts within staff responsibilities

As with player signings, I delegate all contracts to the Director of Football for the players. However, since I like to decide who gets a new contract, I leave the responsibility with me. When I want to renew a contract I just do that from the players profile, but ask the Director of Football to deal with it for me.

Director of Football negotiating contract renewals
Director of Football negotiating contract renewals

Ahead of any contract negotiations I will make sure that the players agreed playing time is accurate for the minutes they’re getting. From the players profile select Overview > Happiness and then change the agreed playing time if needed.

Director of Football Attributes

The Director of Football, when used to its full capacity can have a huge impact on the success of your club, considering the responsibilities that can be placed onto them. When you first start your Football Manager save, you will more than likely find that you already have a Director of Football at your club. If not, then head to the staff search to find one.

If you start out at a much smaller club and you are not permitted to hire a Director of Football then you can assign the aforementioned responsibilities to another staff member.

Staff > Staff Search

The below are what are considered the key attributes for a Director of Football in Football Manager

Key Attributes for a Director of Football

  • Judging Player Ability
  • Judging Player Potential
  • Negotiating

Judging Player Ability and Potential

Simply the staff members ability to judge the current and potential ability of a player whom they are reviewing. This could be from a scout report, an upcoming opposition report or your own players in training. This is particularly useful if you let your Director of Football find and make offers for players.

Negotiating

In theory, this attribute represents the staff members ability to negotiate player signings and deal with contract negotiations. However—and I don’t have access to the inner workings of the code to know if negotiating actually does anything yet—my tests changing this value and then having my Director of Football negotiate transfers and contracts made no difference at all.

Let me know if you’ve had success with a higher attribute here as for now it seems like this is a new attribute with no actual impact just yet. In theory, though, it should separate a good Director of Football from a great one!

Since I don’t think there’s any impact to these attribute and I don’t ask my Director of Football to find players before making offers for them, these attributes, in my opinion, aren’t important to me.

Therefore I will usually look for a Director of Football with a good World Reputation, a similar personality to that of my other key staff, e.g., Model Professional, and a good media handling style, like level-headed.

Conclusion

The role of a Director of Football is one that divides the community. Many prefer to handle contract renewals, player signings and sales themselves. Which is perfectly fine. Who am I to say how one should play. However, to dial up the realism, putting him in charge of some of these roles can change the experience of the game.

Give it a try sometime.

As always, if you made it this far, thank you for reading along. You can get in touch with me in the comments below, or via twitter @fmfutbolmanager

Until next time.

Oliver Jensen

4 comments

  1. Another phenomenal post, Oliver.

    You made some great points about the idea of adding some realism to the game. I really like your approach when It comes to selling players. Spot on.

    I tend to take control of signing my youth staff as I’ve notice that neither TD or DoF will actually sign any coaches to youth team. I’m not sure if that’s a glitch and the fact that my board haven’t raised the youth staff wages in any of saves in any of my saves this year. Have you come across this issue?

    Thanks again, mate!

    1. Thanks Jose.

      I don’t think you have a bug. When the staff are in control they will hire what they think you need. The human players will always sign the most amount of coaches and scouts as they can, but the AI when in control will only sign what they need rather than always signing the maximum amount.

  2. Hi! This was nice to read, going to have a go with this with my Ajax save.
    Do you think Marc Overmars is a good DoF? He’s got a 3-4 star rating
    Second question: How can you ask your Director of Football to deal with the players who are unhappy when a bid is rejected?

    1. Hey Neik, thanks for leaving a comment.
      I don’t think there’s much of a difference between any Director of Football, unfortunately. They all seem as good as each other from my testing, despite it being quite an important role.
      As for your second question, if the DoF is in charge of dealing with incoming bids then when it is rejected and the player is unhappy there’s an option to select the DoF deal with it, but you can only use this if you set the DoF to deal with incoming offers for players.

Please leave me a comment below.

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