FM Challenges

Guide To The Journeyman Challenge In Football Manager

The journeyman challenge suits managers who do not like or find it difficult sticking to one club for an extended period of time. It provides an opportunity across different leagues and nations, from battling relegation with a second division team in Wales to winning the Copa Libertadores in South America, all in a single save game. 

As hinted by the name, the journeyman challenge dares to you to put aside your loyalty and try to switch clubs every two or three years at most, trying to achieve as much as you possibly can in a single save game.

To create a from zero to hero story, most managers start their save game with the lowest experience possible of a Sunday League footballer with no coaching badges. They then try to rise through the ranks, earning coaching badges along the way and growing their reputation until they reach the top leagues.  

Countries and regions to scout in football manager

The journeyman save is different for each player, with no specific goal that you must achieve before you can consider it a success.

You can have a long-term goal at the beginning of the save game, so that you can have something to motivate you during the years when everything is a slogfest, say winning the World Cup or the Champions League, but this is not compulsory.

Some managers, just flow with the save and enjoy the journey wherever they are led by their in-game success or failure.

If done right, the journeyman save has the potential to keep you hooked throughout the lifecycle of the current year’s football manager iteration and possibly beyond. 

This challenge is very similar to the Pentagon Challenge, in that you will be switching clubs and leagues often, but rather than aiming for specific titles like in the Pentagon Challenge, you will instead have the flexibility to choose clubs that interest you rather than those with the highest chances of winning silverware.

Journeyman Save Setup In Football Manager

Setting up the database for a journeyman save can be a bit tricky, and if not done right will have you struggling to get a job, especially in the earlier years of the save game, when you have no badges and a non-existent reputation.

Before deciding on which leagues to load, you will first need to have a general idea of what region you want to spend the majority of your time in. This is especially critical if you do not have a particularly powerful PC that can handle lots of leagues being loaded with little impact on performance.

If you will be spending the lion’s share of your save in South America for instance, there is no need to have the English leagues loaded to the 5th or 6th tier. The Premier League will do fine. On the other hand, if you will be focusing your save game in Europe, you will need all the English, Welsh, and Scottish leagues loaded to the lowest tier possible.

Having the lowest leagues loaded will make it easier to get a job at the beginning of the save game when you have no coaching badges. Should you get fired, you will also find it easier moving to a different country as there will be playable leagues with clubs having similar low reputations.

When you start winning and your reputation grows, you can then drop the leagues that have very low reputations, while adding ones in regions that you might want to move next.

In the earlier example, once you are done with South America and have grown your reputation to an extent, you can then load the second and third division leagues from the top five leagues in Europe and send your job applications there.

For a more general guide on deciding which leagues to load in a typical save game that does not involve lots of switching clubs and leagues, you can check this guide here.

Journeyman Save Rules

  1. Start with the lowest experience possible. Starting with the experience of a Sunday League footballer with no coaching badges then organically rising through the ranks growing your reputation is more satisfying than starting with the highest experience possible and already having all the coaching badges.
  2. Switch clubs often. Do not spend more than three years at a single club. It is not a journeyman save anymore if you are not willing to move clubs.
  3. Play with attribute masking on. Playing with this setting off makes the game considerably easier. It also does not make sense to know all the stats of a player you have come across for the first time in the third division of Sweden.
  4. No use of the in-game editor. It goes without saying that using this will only cheapen your experience and make your victories feel hollow.

The above rules can be tweaked to make the save harder or easier as you fit. What is more important is that you have fun while attempting your variation of the challenge. 

If you truly want a challenge, you can borrow elements from a different challenge like the Youth Academy Challenge to make the journeyman save significantly harder.

Tips For The Journeyman Save In Football Manager

  1. Coaching badges. Focus on getting your coaching badges as they are the key to unlocking better jobs. Continuously pester your board at every opportunity to let you take coaching courses. 
  2. Scouting is paramount. You will be managing in leagues where you have no clue who are the best players. Good scouting knowledge is essential to keep track of players who might improve your team. Therefore, ensure the board has provided you with enough scouts and the scouting range is also expanded at every possible opportunity.
  3. Offer free trials. At the start of the save where you will be likely managing semi-pro teams, offering as many players as possible trials is a good way to get good players as chances are you will not have enough money to invest in a good scouting system
  4. Nickname players. When managing in a region where player names are really similar, dishing out nicknames is a good way to keep track of who is who.
  5. Do not sign long-term contracts. Try to sign very short-term contracts, like 1 or 2 years, as your club will not take it kindly when you are applying for other jobs when you have a five-year contract with them. Resigning to take another job will also not reflect well on you.
  6. Switch Tactics. Do not use one or two tactics for the entirety of your save game, as you risk getting bored. Try to change it once in a while, and also adopt different play styles that suit the players you inherit at a particular club.

Do it well, and the journeyman will be the only save you will be playing with every football manager release. If you want a different challenge, you can also check the San Marino challenge here, which tests your merit on sticking with one club for a long time.