We were teased on several occasions but now, finally, the Football Manager 2021 Beta is out and we could not be more excited.
This year’s incarnation of the greatest video game series of all time, is set to the best yet as well. There are a host of new features to get your teeth stuck into, including new body language mechanics, revamped recruitment centre and much improved match presentation.
Enough about all that though. You’ve clicked on this article for help with one of the biggest decisions you will make this year – which team to choose for your inaugural FM21 save?
Here are 40 suggestions…we think we’ve covered most bases.
David Beckham is a hard man to please. It may be Inter Miami’s inaugural MLS campaign but Golden Balls will still be expecting success from the off.
At least you’ve got Gonzalo Higuain to bang in 30 goals a season.
There is a lot to contend with when managing in the League of Ireland, not least the fact that the summer schedule puts you out of kilter with European competitions. This makes continental success challenging.
Can you manage both domestic and Europa League commitments at Dundalk?
It’s scandalous that a club as big as Bolton Wanderers are languishing in League Two.
Time to get them back where they belong. Is Kevin Davies still playing by the way? What about Ivan Campo?
Shame about that Home Bargains kit that will stay with you throughout you climb up the leagues.
After a pretty horrific few years, things are finally looking up for Milan.
Blessed with an exciting young core and the timeless Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Rossoneri are just a few additions and a talented manager away from ending Juventus‘ stranglehold over Italian football.
Last season, Braintree Town finished rock bottom of the National League registering just four wins in 38 games before Covid-19 brought things to a halt.
Many are tipping them to struggle again this time out. Help the Iron prove the doubters wrong by guiding them to the Football League for the first time in their history.
Someone needs to end the Old Firm’s hegemony and who better than Robbie Copeland’s beloved Falkirk?
(He did not pay us to write this, we swear).
Dynamo Kyiv have now finished second to Shakhtar Donetsk in each of the past four seasons.
It’s simply not good enough. Once you return Dynamo to the domestic summit, your target should be winning the Champions League – if you’re brave enough.
With state of the art training and youth facilities, Sporting CP will be churning out wonderkids with each new youth intake.
Sell them on or keep them and develop a dynasty that dominates Europe for decades.
Oh yeah, don’t forget you still have the bulk of the Bruno Fernandes money to spend as well.
Everything is in place for RB Leipzig to become an elite club under your tutelage.
With a big stadium, excellent youth academy and money to spend, Bayern Munich better watch their backs.
As fallen giants go, they do not come much bigger than Sunderland.
Possessing a near 50,000 seater stadium in the third tier is ridiculous. Add state of the art facilities into the mix and you really have no excuse for not securing back-to-back promotions to be honest.
From the quarter finals of the Champions League in 2013 to being on the brink of oblivion in 2020 – it’s been an eventful few years for Malaga.
What they need is a firm hand of the tiller. Could that be you? Their squad isn’t that bad either – considering they were forced to release the majority of their squad in the summer.
Everyone – and we mean everyone – is tipping Fulham to go down this season.
Your job is simple. Prove them wrong. After that, anything is possible. Most likely, you’ll need a few more seasons of restructuring though. This squad is truly woeful.
After being left high and dry by manager Ian Evatt, few are expecting much from Barrow during their first season back in the Football League for some time.
This save will be tricky considering how poor the Bluebirds facilities are but imagine the scenes if you manage to beat Evatt’s Bolton in the playoff final. Virtual limbs everywhere.
Sometimes after a tough day, all you want to do is load up FM and pump Arminia Bielefeld 6-0.
If this sounds up your street, just take over Bayern and sit back as you dominate things right from the first click.
Athletic Bilbao has long been a favourite save for Football Manager fans.
This is mainly due to the club’s unique homegrown rule which prevents you from using any non-Basque players. It’s a challenge for sure, but a very rewarding experience.
Don’t let their recent signings of Jon Obi Mikel, Steven Fletcher and James Chester fool you into thinking this Stoke City squad is only make up of ex-Premier League plodders.
The Potteries also have a great young core for you to work with, making this save a surprisingly attractive proposition.
Many managers have tried and many have failed.
Could you be the person to finally turn things around at Manchester United?
After a string of financial problems, Palermo now ply their trade in Serie C – the third tier of Italian football.
Their league position may be lowly but their facilities and 23,000 seater stadium make them prime candidates for a return to glory save. Plus, there’s that beautiful pink kit.
After breaking up the Galatasaray, Fenerbache and Besiktas power axis last season, the challenge for you with Istanbul Basaksehir is to maintain this dominance.
There’s Champions League games to contend with from the off, while the club’s 17,000 seater stadium will also need expanding as you grow.
Despite possessing one of the best kits in the world, Fluminense have never won the Copa Libertadores.
If that’s not enough to tickle your fancy, you’ll also have the honour of managing Fred – yes, World Cup 2014 Fred – in what could be his last season as a pro.
Kaizer Chiefs are by far the best known club in South Africa, so it may it surprise you that they have not won a league title since 2015.
With a 90,000 seater stadium and world class training facilities, returning the Chiefs to the top of the pile should be fairly straightforward.
With a super young squad, plenty of money in the bank and world class facilities, Leicester City are a great club to build with.
Replacing Jamie Vardy will be quite a task though…
Gareth Ainsworth is going to be a hard act to follow but with Adebayo Akinfenwa up front, anything is possible.
Keeping the lowly Chairboys in Championship may seem like an impossible task as their squad is so weak, but whose to say that under the right manager miracles cannot be achieved.
Despite being blessed with a modern 41,620 seater stadium (for which the current record attendance was recorded at a Justin Timberlake concert), Lechia Gdansk have never won a Polish league title.
All those gate receipts will build over time, giving you a pretty sizeable transfer budget to put this right.
There’s nothing better than diving into a save with an amusingly named team.
Step forward Calvary FC of the recently formed Canadian Premier Division. They were only created in 2018 as well, giving you a completely blank canvas to create your own story.
10 time Ligue 1 winners Saint-Étienne have not lifted a league title since 1981.
With Paris Saint-Germain so dominant, we’re not saying it’s going to be easy to end this but with solid facilities and the Wesley Fofana money to spend, you should get off to a strong start.
It’s been a rough couple of years for 1860 Munich. Kicked out of the Allianz Arena – which they previously shared with Bayern – in 2017 following their relegation, they now ply their trade in the third tier.
It’ll take a long, long, long time, but wouldn’t it be great to guide these noisy neighbours all the way to the top?
European Cup winners really should not be languishing in the second tier.
There is a lot to attract FM players to sleeping giants Hamburg including a massive stadium, state of the art training facilities and a healthy financial outlook.
Play your hand right and it won’t be long until the club has its hands on continental silverware once again.
Supporters – even virtual ones – do not come more passionate that those of Portsmouth Football Club.
Recently taken over by former Disney executive Michael Eisner, things haven’t progressed quite as quickly as had been hoped at Fratton Park. Maybe they just didn’t have the right manager? Until now that is.
Champions League semi finalists back in 2004, Deportivo de La Coruna compete in the ridiculously complicated Spanish third tier these days.
The first – and maybe even the second promotion – should be easy, however challenging the Real Madrid, Barcelona power axis will test all of your managerial skills.
Come on, who wouldn’t want Mac from Always Sunny in Philadelphia as their boss?
Also, Wrexham have never made it to the Premier League – so there’s that as well.
Silvio Berlusconi and his trusted sporting director Adriano Galliani took over at SS Monza and soon renamed them AC Monza – an ode to the pair’s eventful reign at Milan.
Now in Serie B, the next stop is Serie A and a date at San Siro. They certainly do not have the best facilities, squad or budget, so it would be quite an achievement if you pull it off.
The K-League used to be competitive but in recent years things have been almost entirely dominated by Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
You could change that by guiding the fantastically named Suwon Samsung Bluewings to the title.
We didn’t just choose them for their name though, the Blue Wings are also blessed with some superb facilities and a 44,000 capacity stadium built for the 2002 World Cup.
Do you want your team’s nickname to be the Flying Donkeys?
If you answered yes, choose Chievo Verona.
If you answered no, ask yourself why you’re so boring.
Remember back in April when every single league in Europe shut down, except for the Belarusian Premier League?
Well, now it’s time to repay the BPL for this courtesy by managing one of their fine sides in FM21. We recommend giving Dinamo Minsk a go. It’s about time someone got revenge on BATE Borisov for winning every title between 2006 and 2018.
Here’s a fun idea for you.
Take over Rangers and instead of just stopping Celtic from winning 10 titles in a row, go on and win 10 consecutive titles of your own.
After nearly a decade of The New Saints dominating the Welsh Premier League, Connah’s Quay Nomads finally won their first ever title last season.
This season, the better resourced TNS will be back with a vengeance and only an up and coming manager can save the mighty Nomads from fading back into obscurity. Sound like anyone you know?
Rochdale’s last three league finishes (20th, 16th and 18th in League One respectively) make for depressing reading.
Time for you to come along and sprinkle some spice into the lives of the Dale’s loyal supporters.
Six point deduction aside, Sheffield Wednesday is a great contender for your first FM save.
Big fanbase? Check. Okay squad with a few youngsters? Check. Huge underachievers? A big check.
All is not well at Barcelona at the moment. Their president has just been ousted, Lionel Messi could leave in the summer and there’s a genuine threat of the club going bankrupt.
Despite all this, you’ll still be expected to win it all, all the time. Good luck with that.