English Lower League Expansion Guide

Welcome to the English Lower League expansion leagues guide, the aim of this guide is to give you the most complete experience England has to offer whist maintaining the realism required to adhere to the LLM way of playing the game.

The English lower leagues have been a firm favourite ever since adding leagues to the game became a thing.  Some might say it was one of the defining points for the LLM style of play as the community was split on whether it was a good thing or not.  

One camp was firmly against any changes at all to the base game on the basis that any use of the editor was unacceptable and could lead to imbalances in the game.  The other seeing additional leagues, especially the deeper ones such as this, as an alluring challenge and a natural progression for LLM.

The anonymous llama hopes to find a happy medium.  

In the time since the ability to add expansion leagues became a reality (just over a decade ago) the level of official research for level 7 & 8 of the English system has improved considerably and nearly all clubs at those levels have a full squad of real players.

With this in mind I recommend adding only levels 7 & 8 if you want the most realistic experience.  Even just adding these two levels opens you up to 11 extra divisions unplayable with the base game, which amounts to 225 clubs. Which I would argue is plenty of depth for a comprehensive lower league experience whilst compromising as little realism as possible.  

UPDATE - Having spoken with various people I have decided that just recommending level 8 is a little conservative.  If you are fine with "adding players to playable teams" then level 10 is my lowest recommendation.  It was pointed out to me that level 10 is actually higher than N. Ireland tier 3 in terms of reputation in-game. so it is entirely up to you.  

Anything below this would require the editor of the database to create clubs from scratch and level 8 is the lowest with real players so the choice is yours.  The rest of this guide will however deal with just levels 7 & 8

You can find more on my way of assessing the viability of expansion leagues with a list of pros and cons in the link below  

Recommended Expansion League

The next step of course is to find the best and most realistic file to make this all happen and I have whittled the list down to two candidates.  TheFMEditors and Leo Messi's.

Picking a suitable one for an LLM save was not an easy task at all and having tested both for a minimum of 10 seasons they are all as near perfect as you could wish for.  My recommendation however will have to be Messi's Level 10 database as at the time of writing he has managed to work around a bug in the editor that prevents the loaning of players at level 7 and below.

In time the others will have no doubt sorted this issue out and there will be nothing to choose between them with both files being extremely highly regarded. 

Frankly were it not for this minor issue I could heartily recommend both.

Installation instructions are in the links below

The Setup

Okay so we've chosen our add-on it's now just a case of looking at how we set the game up.  It's an easy one here as just adding England down to level 8 gives you a pretty big game world.  If however you do have the processing power then the obvious choice is to load the other British nations.

A good option of course, should you make it to the upper echelons of the English game, is to add the top 2 divisions of the major European nations in order to make the continental competitions more competitive

Leagues To Load

Optional (Original DB)

The System At Level 7 & 8

Promotion & Relegation

Beneath the National League North and South divisions (which come with the game), are the seventh and eighth tiers of English football, or Step 3 and 4 in non-league terms.  These are the two extra levels you will be adding.  The promotion and relegation system is as follows.

Step 3 / Level 7

2 promoted from each division – Champions plus 1 via 4 team play-offs

Bottom 2 relegated from each division, along with 2 third bottom clubs on PPG

Bottom two sides from each division will be relegated to Step 4. Another two “third bottom” clubs will be relegated on a PPG basis.

Step 4 / Level 8

2 promoted from each Division – Champions plus 1 via 4 team play-offs

At Step 4, the bottom side will go into a playoff with against a Step 5 side. The match will be hosted by the Step 4 side and the winner will play at Step 4 the following season with the loser playing at Step 5

LLMPicker English Level 8

Click below to ask the Anonymous Llama for a starting team