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The Most Challenging Teams to Manage in Football Manager 2020

We all know and love the Football Manager series, and Football Manager 2020 is one of the best games within this franchise. But playing as the same teams time and again can get duller than watching a team park the bus.

The true joy of any Football Manager save is taking a team from rags to riches. Whether you get Spurs to finally win a trophy, or ensure no one ever asks who Accrington Stanley are again, it’s all about putting the hard work in to ensure success.

We’ve put together the 10 most challenging teams to manage in Football Manager 2020. By dividing the teams through the leagues they’re in, we’ve given two options for each league: the most challenging team, and a slightly easier option.

It’s up to you future Football Manager 2020 champions to choose wisely – the fans are counting on you.

Vanarama National League Clubs

One of the most challenging teams in Football Manager 2020 is Braintree Town in the Vanarama National League South. With a £50,000 budget they’re not the poorest club in the league, but they do have the lowest average ability of players, meaning that the small £50k budget could disappear really quickly. You’ll have to be at your absolute best to train and manage Braintree Town while also bringing in some decent players on the cheap.

If you’re looking for less of a challenge then Dulwich Hamlet in the Vanarama National League South are the team for you. Havant and Waterlooville do have the best squad in the National Leagues, but Dulwich Hamlet’s £250K budget more than doubles Havant and Waterlooville. Plus, with a very good squad, they already are expected to reach the playoffs, and with a little bit of help they could be promotion certainties.

Sky Bet League 2

Macclesfield Town are one of the most challenging teams to manage in all of Football Manager 2020. With a transfer and wage budget of only £1 (no, that is not a typo – one pound) it’s incredibly hard to get any new players in. But with the lowest average player rating, the squad is in dire need for improvements. Macclesfield Town will really test your tactical and management skill.

On the other end of the scale is Salford City – perhaps not a huge surprise considering they are owned by many of Man U’s class of ’92. With a huge budget of £100K (the joint highest in the league), you have plenty of cash to splash on new players to bring in. But with a highly rated squad, Salford City don’t need too many new additions.

Sky Bet League 1

It comes as no surprise that Bolton Wanderers are an incredibly difficult club to manage in Football Manager 2020. Starting on minus 12 points provides a huge challenge for any team, but this is only added to by the fact that Bolton Wanderers have no transfer budget at all. Plus a lot of their players are on short-term contracts. Keeping Bolton up may well be the most difficult test for any Football Manager save.

The easiest challenge in League 1 is Portsmouth FC (a team that were like Bolton not that long ago). With some fantastic players who have great potential, Pompey are an almost guarantee for the Championship next season (in Football Manager 2020 at least). With a £100,000 transfer budget they may not have the highest budget (Sunderland have 1 million pounds), but Portsmouth have a squad that needs little to no changing.

Sky Bet Championship

Barnsley start the 19/20 season as odds on favourites to be relegated. With the lowest average quality in the whole league, their squad needs a lot of work. They do, however, have a £3 million transfer budget to spend. But with their squad a lot of changes are needed and that £3 million could be spent pretty quickly.

At the other end of the table, Nottingham Forest are one of the best choices in the league. They have an amazing squad that look set for a promotion drive. With a £4 million budget there’s not a huge amount to spend, but there’s little need to strengthen the squad that much more.

Barclays Premier League

Norwich City are the most challenging team to manage in the Premier League. With a squad that needs improvement there’s a lot of changes that have to be made. But their £8 million budget doesn’t provide much cash for the type of players needed, and Norwich need a lot of help to avoid relegation.

Of course, there’s no shortage of easier teams to manage in the Premier League. Chelsea actually have the highest transfer budget, and also have a vast array of talented players with high potential. But if you’re looking for the perfect team to break into the top six, then Everton are your best bet. With some high potential players, and a decent transfer budget, Everton are a team that only need a little help to achieve on a higher level.

Gaming has been a life-long love for Stan. To him, there's nothing better than getting lost in a single player adventure. He calls Hyrule home, but occasionally also ventures to a galaxy far far away... Fancy a game of Gwent?