FM Challenges

Guide To The Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) Challenge In Football Manager

The Sir Alex Ferguson challenge also known as the SAF challenge dares FM managers to emulate the 27 years the legendary manager had at Manchester United by hitting the same milestones or achieving more than the Scotsman did while sticking to his transfer policy as well as his values.

To give you a clue of the Herculean task ahead, here is a list of what Sir Alex Ferguson won during his time as Man United’s manager.

  • 13 Premier League titles
  • 5 FA Cups
  • 4 League Cups
  • 10 Community Shield Wins
  • 2 UEFA Champions League Titles
  • 1 Intercontinental Cup Title 
  • 1 European Cup Winners Cup
  • 1 FIFA Club World Cup

In our FM Challenge, the Intercontinental Cup title will be replaced by the FIFA Club World Cup, while the Europa League will take the spot for the European Cup Winners Cup.

While SAF took charge at United for 27 years, you will not have the luxury of winning nothing for the first 15 years or so and then speedrunning the titles towards the end of your save.

Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge In Football Manager

There are set time limits by which you should have won different titles, which we will get into detail below.

Just like the Youth Academy Challenge, the Sir Alec Ferguson Challenge locks you into one club, which makes it less of a necessity to load many leagues all over the world.

However, leagues from the top five nations in Europe should be loaded to have a balanced field in UEFA club competitions, as well as prevent clubs in the English leagues from gaining an unfair advantage in terms of transfer activity as inactive leagues tend to have lessened transfer activity.

Take a look at the differences between playable and view only leagues here.

If you prefer having a save that will have you switching clubs often, consider the Journeyman Challenge or The Pentagon Challenge.

Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) Challenge Rules And Milestones

Milestones For Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) Challenge

To get started with the challenge, you will first have to holiday yourself until 6th November, taking over a club that will be 19th in the English Premier League.

6th November 1986 is the date Sir Alex took over Man United while the club was 2nd bottom in the league. 

The first challenge is to save the club you land in from relegation. Fail to do this, and you have to start all over again.

Once you survive the season, guiding the club to safety, now the hard work begins.

Here is a list of objectives you have to hit within the time limits I mentioned above. Fail to hit a specific time limit and the challenge is over.

  1. Win the FA Cup within 4 seasons – Sir Alex won the FA Cup in 1989/90
  2. Win the Premier League within 7 seasons – The first EPL title won by SAF was in 1992/93
  3. Win a Premier League/FA Cup double within 8 seasons – The first double won by United under Sir Alex was in 1993/94
  4. Win Three Premier League/FA Cup Doubles within 13 seasons – The Treble won by Sir Alex in 1998/99 included his third Premier League/FA Cup Double
  5. Win the Premier League/FA Cup/Champions League Treble within 13 seasons – In 1998/99 Man United won the treble

Rules For Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) Challenge

The following rules should be your guide when tackling the challenge, fail to meet one of them, and your challenge is over;

  1. Just like Ferguson, you can only sign a maximum of 8 players per season.
  2. You must always have a player produced by your club’s academy in every match squad. If you do not have an eligible player registered at the beginning of the challenge, you do not have to be compliant until your first chance to register players, which will be 1st January of the first season.
  3. You can sign any player that you wish
  4. You can not do transfer business with your main rival, in this case, Liverpool
  5. International management is not allowed when tackling this challenge
  6. You can use any version of the game as long as it can meet these instructions
  7. Editor use or using a customized database is not allowed, the only change you can make are cosmetic ones like adding real name fixes or player pictures.

Sir Alex Ferguson was known for developing youth players, therefore you should also aim at having the core of your team consist of players that you have developed at the club you land at.

This is not a requirement, but you can use it to closely mirror the man.

SAF Challenge In FM

Also, you should always be the biggest personality in your team. Any player starting from a backup player to the key player in your team who throws a fit at you demanding a better contract or a move to a bigger club should be shipped off at the earliest time possible. Sir Alex knew no player is bigger than the club.

Setting up your database for the Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge should not be too different from setting up a normal save game when starting in a top-five league in Europe, which I had earlier discussed here.

However, note that failing to load some leagues that will have their clubs participate in the UEFA club competitions will see the performances of those clubs drop as the years go by.

This is because clubs in leagues that are not active will naturally have fewer players loaded as well have fewer regens generated by the game.

Speaking of regens, why not hop over here and take a look at how I go about searching for potential wonderkids in FM