Sports Interactive's Football Manager series (once known as Championship Manager) is the Chosen One of sports management games. Rarely does its year-on-year instalment fall from Steam's top ten most played games list and while the latest edition, Football Manager 2017 [official site], isn't exactly brimming with new features, it has finely tuned almost all of its existing ones - to the point where this season's outing is one of the best in the series' illustrious 14-year career. "I have been impressed; greatly impressed at times," says Adam in his review.
Similar to the waves of players and personnel who switch employers each year, mods come and go with each passing iteration of FM. The following list gathers the best that are available so far for 2016/17's incarnation - but we'll be adding to this list as the season unfolds.
How to install Football Manager 2017 mods
A large number of Football Manager mods are housed on fan sites, such as FM-Space.com and Passion4FM.com, which provide step-by-step instructions for manual installation. This process is sometimes tricky and often convoluted, though. As such, the majority of mods featured here also feature on the Football Manager 2017 Steam Workshop - subscribe to the relevant mod's page and you're good to go. Any mods which don't feature on Steam Workshop are clearly labelled from hereon.
Real Names Fix, Logos and Kits
By Passion4FM, FM-Space and Fabrizio respectively
Football Manager 2017 houses an enormous amount of information about teams, players, backroom staff, tournaments, wages - yet step outside the so-called 'big' teams and that vast encyclopedia begins to wear a little thinner. It's understandable, given the sheer scale of world football, however Passion4FM's Real Names Fix helps to ensure your favourite lesser-known underdog is filled with authentic player names, and that they compete against real clubs in real competitions. This custom database also amends popular tournaments in relation to their sponsorship deals.
Similarly, both FM-Space and Fabrizio's Logos and Kits mods add authentic club and country badges and logos, and authentic kits with relevant sponsors and manufacturers. Both of these mods feature on FM-Space.com and come with installation instructions. While there, you may want to check out FM-Space's Player Faces and Skins mods for an extra dose of realism.
Similar to the above, the International Team Competition Histories mod adds accuracy to the international spectrum - introducing "complete" histories across a number of tournaments and countries. Reliant on Wikipedia and the RSSSF archive, creator cfuller763 has added data for all qualifying and and final stages of historical World Cups and continental championships, as well as in-game tourneys such as the Confederations Cup. Returning to Football Manager for the third year in a row, this mod helps rectify errors and oversights regarding national team data across the globe.
"For the second public release of ITCH, I completely erased all national team histories from the database and inserted my own data for every country from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe," says cfuller763 on the mod's page. "This means that my file will be compatible with the original FM17 database, as well as any future updated databases."
Right, so you've sorted your kits, logos, player names and competitions and it's now time to sign some players. But who will you go for? While I'm sure it's tempting to shift your entire transfer budget (and your house and car and children) to sign Ronaldo and Messi in one fell swoop, anyone who's familiar with Football Manager knows that young talent is the key to long-term success. Bear in mind you're in this for the long haul and it won't be long before today's heroes are hanging up their boots.
Enter Passion4FM's Wonderkids and Best Young Talents mods which provide a comprehensive shortlist of the best under 21s and under 18 players respectively. Looking for the next Neymar or the future Frank Lampard? Take your pick from the top incoming talent here. Handy mods to pair with these 'uns are Passion4FM's Backroom Staff filter and BigDaddy's Fewer Injuries - the former helps filter the best technical team to nurture your young squad; the latter keeps them from getting crocked.
By CaptainCraigles and klash_man respectively
Then again, no matter how well you plan, train and prepare, sometimes borrowing ideas from the greats is a quicker route to success. Or, you know, borrowing from other FM players who've emulated tactics and strategies courtesy of the greats.
The Football Manager 2017 Steam Workshop is overflowing with self-made user formations, each of which 'guarantees success'. As you play, you'll no doubt form your own however I've chosen this coupling as my favourites because of their universal adaptability. These are mods which need to be experienced to be fully understood, however I'll turn you over to each one's creator, starting with the Barcelona TIKI TAKA Guardiola philosophy:
"I have tailored these tactics after Josep Guardiolas philosophy at Barcelona and their players - for example the system used in the highly successful 2009-2010. The Barcelona Tiki Taka tactics is created for everyone who prefers high amount of possession (above 60%), who feels more comfortable when the ball is in the opposite half rather than counter from deep within your own half. I like my players to patiently build up the play with shorter passes at players' feet, working the ball around until space opens up."
CaptainCraigles' Jurgen Klopp's 4-3-3 Gegenpress admittedly works best with the current Liverpool team, however also adapts well to high intensity setups.
"Jurgen Klopp's 4-3-3 style tactic he is currently using at Liverpool. Use players with high work rates and determination. Think about the passes you have to make to get a player in a No 10 role in a position where he can play the genius pass. Counter-pressing lets you win back the ball nearer to the goal. It’s only one pass away from a really good opportunity. No playmaker in the world can be as good as a good counter pressing situation. That shows why it’s so important."
Another formation which works well is klash_man's City Pep Guardiola ( Control The World ) 2017. Again, this is tailored to suit Manchester City's current playstyle but also be easily adopted elsewhere.
By Sangue Blue
Looking for the the most *cough* realistic interpretation of modern football behind the scenes? Live life like your idols, screw the system, and stop paying taxes. Be warned, though: this mod deletes taxes universally, meaning you're less likely to get a leg-up over the competition as a result of your prohibited penny-pinching. What it does mean, though, is that you've one less financial burden to worry about in terms of overall expenses.
"This file deletes taxes in all countries of the world," states Sangue Blue in the most direct description possible.
By FM Life
A handy visual overhaul to the training menu. Makes adjusting and analysing individual training sessions easier.
By FM Life
Similar to the above, Contract View makes evaluating your squad easier. A handy 'stats of the season' tab also lets you determine which players are not pulling their weight.
International Champions Cup
Adds the International Champions Cup - a friendly tournament held in the summer.
And so blows the final whistle on our favourite Football Manager 2017 mods so far. Again, the stadium that is Steam Workshop is constantly filling, so we'll return later in the season to update this list some more. If we've missed some of your favourite, please do scream from the terraces in the comments below.