FM Challenges

The Best Save Ideas and Fun Challenges In Football Manager

You have probably grown tired of playing your favourite club with each football manager iteration and want to try something different, challenging and fun. If so, you have come to the right place.

Whether you want a short fun challenge that you will clear in a few seasons, a long, hard, slow-burning one at a single club that will take more than 10 years to complete or a challenge that will see you change clubs every few seasons in pursuit of different titles, this list has all those save ideas.

Let’s get started;

1. The SAF Challenge

The SAF challenge, or the Sir Alex Ferguson challenge in full, challenges you to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Manchester United manager.

To successfully beat the challenge, you will need to win a greater or equal number of accolades and titles than the Scotsman at Manchester United within a set time limit.

Sir Alex Ferguson Challenge

To get started, you will need to start a new save in England, and holiday until the 6th of November and take over a club that will be 19th in the English Premier League.

This is because Sir Alex took over Man United in 1986 while they were in 19th place.

The first order of business will be saving the club you land at from relegation.

Once you have done so, you can then lay your eyes on the achievements Sir Alex brought to Man United and aim to achieve the same, earlier or at the same time Sir Alex did.

Taking longer than Sir Alex did to win a title means failure for your SAF challenge, and you have to start over.

I have covered the SAF challenge in more detail here with all the rules and the titles you have to win, so take a look and get started emulating the very best the game has ever seen.

2. San Marino Challenge

The San Marino challenge is one of the hardest challenges in football manager and needs a lot of patience before you can start enjoying your success.

For the uninitiated, San Marino is a small country surrounded by Italy and has a population of around 34,000 people.

The main aim of the challenge is to lead this tiny nation to World Cup success and lift the most prestigious title in World Football.

To attempt this difficult task, you will first need to develop quality Sammarinese players by improving the quality of regen players coming through the youth system of a San Marino club that you will be managing.

Those who attempt this challenge normally use San Marino Calcio as their preferred club of choice however, you can use any club that you want, but the challenge becomes much more difficult in doing so.

To get a full picture of the San Marino challenge as well as some tips to get you started, read my full guide on the San Marino challenge here

3. The Pentagon Challenge

If you do not fancy spending all your time in one club and prefer changing clubs every few years or so, then the Pentagon challenge will be right up your alley.

The Pentagon challenge asks you to win the Champions League title in each of the five playable continents available in football manager.

To make it a little more fun and challenging, you must start the challenge with no coaching badges, unemployed and with Sunday League experience, the lowest in the game.

You then have to find your way and concur all the continents for you to successfully beat the challenge. Luckily, there is no time limit, so you can play at your own pace.

The Pentagon Challenge In football Manager

Furthermore, there is no rule on where to start, however, starting in Europe is not recommended since it is almost impossible to get a job with a first-division club with the kind of experience you will be starting off with.

It is better to start in Africa or Asia, win a few things get some experience then move to the other continents with some experience. 

I have covered the Pentagon challenge in more detail here, outlining the best routes to take as well as my preferred database setup to have the game running smoothly since you will be loading a lot more leagues compared to a normal save. 

So take a look at the guide and get cracking.

4. The Youth Academy Challenge

If you normally get too attached to one club and find changing clubs difficult, then the Youth Academy Challenge is one you should try.

The main aim of the Youth Academy challenge is to win the top division league and the Champions League titles of the continent you are managing in without making any transfers of any sort, be it signing youth players, getting players on loan, free transfers or even the greyed out players.

You are tied to what the club can produce. Once you have sold a player, you can not have him back, even on a free transfer.

This makes having a top-tier youth academy with the best staff possible a priority. The better your youth prospects are, the better your chances of winning anything.

You can make the challenge easier by starting with top clubs famed for their exceptional youth facilities, like Ajax or Barcelona, or make it more difficult by starting in the lower leagues and then finding your way up before challenging the likes of Real Madrid in the Champions League with only homegrown players from your Youth Academy.

For more information regarding the challenge, hop over to this guide, where I have highlighted all the rules and some pointers to get you started.

5. The Journeyman Challenge

Just like the Pentagon Challenge, the Journeyman challenge will have you switching clubs every few seasons.

However, unlike the Pentagon Challenge, the Journeyman challenge asks you to switch clubs every two or three seasons even when you have not achieved your initial plans at the club.

You can not stay at one club for more than three years. The aim is to win as much as possible without overstaying your stay.

Be it the Carabao cup in the UK, or a title win in Colombia, everything is fair game in this challenge as long as you do not spend longer than three years at a single club. 

Managers normally start the challenge with no coaching badges and Sunday league experience and then see where FM and their success or lack thereof take them.

What marks the end of the save will be up to you, since the journey is more important than the destination in this kind of save.

For more on the Journeyman save, head over to my comprehensive guide here.

6. The Director of Football Challenge

If you find signing good players to be too easy in FM, then this challenge will ensure you are on the same playing field as the other AI-controlled teams.

The DoF challenge mandates you to hand over all the transfer-related activities to the Director of Football in the club, including signing new players, renewing contracts, hiring staff, negotiating staff contracts and even setting up scouting assignments.

Your only job at the club is to come up with tactics, training programs and the match day managing of the game, nothing else.

Building a team in your vision is not possible here, as you will have to rely on the players that the director of football signs for you.

You do not have to stay at one club, however, each club you move to must have a director of football whom you will hand over to all the transfer-related activities. 

There are a few ways in which different FM managers approach the Director of Football challenge, I have all of them listed here, so take a look and find one which suits you best.

7. The Big Brother Challenge / Little Brother Challenge

If you love an underdog story, then the Big Brother challenge is one you should consider.

To get started, you first have to find a city that has two or more clubs, with one of the clubs being significantly bigger and more successful than the others.

Paris for instance with PSG and Paris FC or Barcelona with FC Barcelona and Espanyol or Munich with Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich are good examples.

Once you have identified a city and picked the little brother, the aim of the challenge is to achieve success with the smaller team until you have surpassed the achievements of the bigger brother. 

You can tailor the challenge to be as easy as you want or as hard as possible by setting what constitutes surpassing the other club and thus becoming the bigger brother, is it winning more titles? Having a bigger stadium or having a higher in-game value? All this is up to you.

For more on this challenge, head over to my comprehensive guide here, where I have also laid out a few cities that are good candidates for this kind of challenge.