LLaMa Save Suggestions

From clubs in financial trouble to fallen giants, every club has a story to tell and here the Yellow Llama unearths his favourites



"LLaMa's don't do challenges, but sometimes they need a push in the right direction"

-Ancient LLaMa proverb


  • Young Llama suggestion - One for the young LLaMas, unsure if the llama life is for them & ready to dip their hooves in the water.

  • Old Llama suggestion - One for the more experienced amongst us, each unique & different in it's own way.

  • "Random" suggestion - A random suggestion based on a number of well thought out factors. Mainly that the team plays in yellow. Well, that's about the only factor really.

And, finally,

  • Yellow Llama's Legendary Twisted LLaMa Suggestion - For the less discerning LLaMa who wants to spice up their save. Not for the feint hearted, it has come to my attention that these might not always fit in with the official LLaMa guidelines. Look, you don't HAVE to try it. I mean I'm not holding a gun to your head. Yet.

Dearest Llamas

I hope this letter finds you all well and you've managed to get some time in on FM! If you're anything like me (you're not, I have my freedom!) then you have booked some time off work (being milked daily), have got some snacks in (wheat, like in Minecraft) and have asked Old Grey to choose you a team (Cobreloa, probably).

In case he has let you down though (Kaiserslautern - ha!), then I have decided to provide you with a bumper update on how things have been for me over the last few months. I will be writing regularly, so if today's letter doesn't help you out with a suggestion, tomorrow's probably will (it won't be tomorrow, I do have other things to do, you know)

Dover, England
Blackpool Tower, England

Anyway, following the court case, (which won't be mentioned again, I have been contacted by Julia's lawyers following my last communication - is one of you lot putting these letters on the internet?) I fled the States to somewhere warm and safe. Then I was deported and ended up in England. Blackpool to be precise.

I needed to make money, see, and I heard on the grapevine (read an article on the BBC) that you get fed, watered and also get Fridays off if you give rides to children (or otherwise small people) on the beach.

Now, usually this applies only to Donkeys and I am, in fact, a LLaMa. This posed no problem to Thompson (my boss/handler/feeder) who was happy to negotiate and, having agreed to work on Fridays and to eat only locally available grass, I had myself a job.

It is worth noting that these rides take place on the beach, and therefore there was no locally available grass. Thompson masked this by responding "half an hour, same as the donkeys" whenever anyone asked what I had for lunch.

Anyway, as a special treat, I have decided to give you some suggestions from BOTH of the English leagues. Now the English Leagues need no real introduction to most football/FM fans, so I'm not going harp on about the history of the leagues here (started in 1992 according to most media outlets here) or the national team (did something good, once, at home, got a number of favourable refereeing decisions & haven't shut up about it since).

This is a great place to start in FM22 though because you have it all. Six levels, professional & semi-pro clubs, former top division clubs all over the shop at every level, clubs in Admin, clubs with millions to spend, superstar players - what more could you ask for?

Some suggestions, that's what.

Yorkshire, England
London Eye, England

Now. The lowest playable division in FM22 in England is the National League North/South.

This is a (typically) semi-pro league split into two based on geographical proximity. There are 22 teams in each division and 2 from each league will be promoted to the National League - the champions & the play off winners.

Two clubs from each league will be relegated in the first season, however from 22/23, the leagues are both expanding to 24 teams which means four will go down.

This means that picking a struggling club might see a couple of years of relegation battle before you find your feet!

English Vanarama North

So, we begin in the North. Of the two leagues, the North has more historical league clubs, but also covers the largest area. This level is massively weighted by clubs from places that are traditionally considered "Southern", and an away day for Blyth to Gloucester would be a 600 mile round trip. Ouch!

FA Trophy Winners 2017
First League Club to Break the 100 points barrier, 1984

Young Llama Suggestion:

Club: York City

City: York

Media Prediction: 2nd

Board Expectations: Playoffs

Why Them?: A football league club since 1929, York spent the vast majority of their existance knocking about levels 3-4 in England, save for a couple of years in the second tier in the 70's. Then, in 2004, disaster struck & they were relegated to the National League.

A big club for that level, they made an absolute meal of getting back into the league, eventually doing so in 2012. However, in 2016 they were relegated back to the National League, and crapped out even further a year later with a second successive relegation.

Expected to bounce straight back, they came midtable twice. Then, in fantastic York City fashion, they were denied promotion when the 19/20 season was curtailed due to Covid-19 (you may have heard of it, doesn't affect LLaMa's - just humans & kiwi fruit - don't worry about it) despite being in first place.

This was because their points per game of 1.94 was .06 less than second place King's Lynn Town's 2. Amazing. I imagine they were livid. Anyway, they are by FAR the biggest club at this level and are expected to smash it.

They have a strong squad littered with Football League experience, and are one of only 5 full time clubs in the league. You really should smash it, to be honest.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked

Have a viking day! York is famous for being a viking stronghold and you can relive what this must have been like by firstly visiting the Jorvik Centre which contains lifelike mannequins which have been made using the bones of dead vikings as a base, and has lots of people dressed as vikings knocking about.

It isn't as good as it sounds, and I appreciate that it doesn't sound particularly good. After that, there's a great little pub called Valhalla which is decked out like a viking tavern complete with swords/shields on the wall, skulls all about the place, and famous viking bands Guns n' Roses & Motley Crue playing constantly. And they sell mead.

Vikings - Fierce. Unlike your defensive line.

Horsfall Stadium, Bradford
Kevin Hector, Bradford PA and the Football League’s top scorer for the 1965-66 season with 44 goals

Old Llama Suggestion:

Club: Bradford Park Avenue

City: Bradford

Media Prediction: Dead Last

Board Expectations: Fight Bravely Against Relegation

Why Them?: There are LOADS of former football league clubs knocking about at this level, but Bradford (Park Avenue) are probably further away than any of the others from getting that status back.

It's a sad tale, that of BPA. The football club, I mean, not the plastic which has been banned from plastic drinking bottles. I don't want any confusion, so will just use their full name. One that all of us, as we get older, can no doubt relate to.

For Bradford (Park Avenue) have been surpassed and demoted into near obsolescence by a sexier, sleeker, richer rival. With a bigger stadium. Once upon a time, Bradford (Park Avenue) were THE club in Bradford. In fact, they were just known as Bradford.

They had many battles with Bradford City in the football league over the years and, to differentiate between the two, Bradford put (Park Avenue) after their name because that's where they played. Having been a football league club for over 60 years, they were relegated in 1970 and have never been back.

Now in the 6th tier, they got away with it where York got done over in the 19/20 season when it was decided there would be no relegation from the National League North/South. Park Avenue were bottom of the league and had averaged just 0.6 points per game. Tipped to go down this season, and with an ageing squad, avoiding relegation would be a good season.

Finishing above divisional rivals Guisely and Farsley is unlikely, but not as unlikely as one day finishing above Bradford City, currently two divisions above you and tipped for promotion. And long term, bettering the club's record high finish of 9th in the top division is a pipe dream - good luck with that.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Go to Saltaire Village. It's a World Heritage site, there's loads of history there and you can do things like go on a boat, go on a tram and even travel by just walking about if you fancy it.

There is a building there called Victoria Hall which houses "Yorkshire's finest Wurlizter cinema organ" and apparently if you call in, you can "see if you can catch the Wurlitzer in action & you might even see the console rise up to the stage on it's lift" which sounds about as exciting as taking that 600 mile round trip from Blyth to Gloucester whilst seated in between former England & Newcastle Captain & current Liverpool midfielder/full back.

Which in turn is more entertaining than finishing bottom of the National League North, like you probably have with Bradford (Park Avenue).

The wurlitzer organ - lets hope you find this easier to get a tune out of than your players

Haig Avenue, Southport
Southport, Division 4 champions 1972/73

Random Llama Suggestion which has taken into account lots of specific factors:

Club: Southport

City: Southport

Media Prediction: 16th from 22

Board Expectations: Top Half

Why Them?: Well, as always, I have taken into account a number of factors (one) and arrived at Southport who, just in case you hadn't guessed, play in yellow. Now, like Bradford (Park Avenue), Southport are another former football league club and were for about 55 years.

Relegated in 1978, they also haven't been back and despite being a bit of a yo-yo club between the fifth & sixth tiers over the last 15 years or so, they are now beginning their 5th straight season in the National League North. They were actually the very first winners of the division in 2005, but now they are far more likely to be relegated than promoted.

They start with a paper thin squad of 18 players, two of which have significant long term injuries. Surviving the first season is about the best you can hope for, and from there, the world is your oyster. Ok, it isn't, and this will likely be a slog. But they play in yellow so there you go.

Good Luck, Random Llama.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Go and look at some red squirrels.

Bit of a personal one this one. I was once in Chester observing a grey squirrel at a (safe) distance (approximately 5 meters) when I was approached by a stranger on a bicycle. Aware of "stranger danger", I immediately tensed and braced myself for potential abduction.

Sure enough, he made an enticing offer no doubt designed to lure me onto the back of his bicycle so he could whisk me away and do untold things to me. He offered not a puppy, nor sweets, but instead made a chilling, suggestive offer that I will never forget as long as I live;

"Would you like to know where you can see some red squirrels"?

Not knowing how else to respond, and fully expecting the answer to be "down my pants" or some such, I asked... "Where"?

"Southport", came his reply. He then peddled off without another word.

Shaken, I ran home to tell my Mother. She told me to sort myself out and reminded me that I was 37. She was right.

Red Squirrels , a more enticing offer than you're likely to get from another club

The Yellow Llama's Legendary Twisted Suggestion

Background: Ah, my legendary twisted suggestion. Hard enough to be legendary, but made even harder with a Yellow Llama twist. Which sounds more disgusting than it is. It just means that I've added a twist to the idea to make it harder.

For the less discerning LLaMa who wants to spice up their save. Not for the feint hearted, it has come to my attention that these might not always fit in with the official LLaMa guidelines. Look, you don't HAVE to try it. I mean I'm not holding a gun to your head. Yet.

Gateshead International Stadium
Rooney the Goat, Gateshead FC mascot

Club: Gateshead

City: Gateshead

Media Prediction: 11th from 22

Board Expectations: Playoffs

Why Them?: Imagine a life, staring into the middle distance at somewhere infinately bigger and better. Imagine all of your friends and neighbours ignoring you, and your achievements, and hanging out every Saturday with someone much more glamourous and richer. No, not the life of the Moon, or Danni Minogue, but that of Gateshead football club.

I mean, it's always been difficult for them being just a stones throw away, but following a takeover, Newcastle United are now THE RICHEST CLUB IN THE WORLD. Although this is currently both novel and amusing as they struggle against relegation whilst they wait for the transfer window to open, it's likely to get boring pretty soon because, as we know, money talks.

They will win stuff sooner rather than later. And they may well win everything. And the first time they do the neutrals might reminisce and even be pleased for those 50,000 odd fans who turned up every week even when they were rubbish. But by FM26 we're going to be sick of them. So let's get in early & stick it to them.

Here's how.

Take over Gateshead. Slog, toil and struggle until the day when you finally have more League Titles than Newcastle United. Now, at this point, they have four. The last one might have been in the 1920's, however even if you manage to get Gateshead promoted to the top division consecutively (unlikely), the chances are they will have spent silly money on French Winger/Striker or Norweigian Android and have won more titles.

However long it takes you, and however many you win, you need win more titles than them. That's all.

Oh, and do it without spending a penny, using only players from your academy, free transfers & loans. That'll learn them.

Good Luck, Legendary, Twisted Llama!

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Buy a Newcastle shirt, tell everyone your Grandad was a Geordie and that you've supported them since you were 8.

Everyone else will be doing it soon, stay ahead of the curve.

Grandad, loved the Toon

English Vanarama South

So, off to the south. The clubs here cover a smaller geographical space which means there are loads of rivalries going on, and real chances to create history as there is only one club who has played league football before.

This is generally an even league with 2-3 standout sides, 2-3 poor sides, and then lots in the middle. Also, it's worth considering that every single club has local league clubs meaning natural, local & realistic career progression is possible - enjoy!

Gallagher Stadium, Maidstone
Vanarama South Playoff Winners 2016

Young Llama Suggestion:

Club: Maidstone United

City: Maidstone

Media Prediction: 5th

Board Expectations: Playoffs

Why Them?: The only former league club in the division, Maidstone were relegated from the National League in 2019 and, because of Covid, have yet to have a full season to try and get back up. They are one of only three professional outfits in the National South, which means they have better finances and facilities than most.

You also start with what is a very decent backroom staff at this level, as well as a squad with a fair bit of league experience. Not only that, this season marks 30 years since they were dissolved (ie. went bust, not placed in a bath of acid) and booted out of the football league.

If someone had done that to me, I would want revenge. I don't know if they do. But one imagines so.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked

Visit Teapot Island. It's not an ACTUAL island, but the teapot part is true. There are 5,000 of them. Teapots. It's basically a teapot museum with a cafe attached.

Whilst some of the Trip Advisor reviews are pretty scathing (I mean just how disappointed one can be by the volume of clotted cream on a scone baffles me to be honest), it is surely the go-to place in the south east of England (except London) if you have even a passing interest in teapots. Which is probably why Google maps constantly states that it is "not busy".

Oh and their website is a cracker too, headed with a picture showing the visit of Prince Charles & Camila who, at first glance, appear to be being held hostage.

God knows how they ended up there, but can't imagine it was to drown their sorrows having been sacked by Maidstone United.

Teapot - Massive, like your points deficit
Melbourne Community Stadium, Chelmsford
Wheelbarrows, loved in Chelmsford (ask your grandad)

Old Llama Suggestion:

Club: Chelmsford City

City: Chelmsford

Media Prediction: 9th from 21

Board Expectations: Mid Table

Why Them?: To be honest, most clubs in this division are going to pose their own challenges, however I've gone for Chelmsford for a slightly different reason than usual.

I would usually pick a relegation struggler for this suggestion, and it is quite unlikely that Chelmsford will go down. However, as their history shows, they are also quite unlikely to go up either. They have been playing at this level since the 2008/2009 season which is THIRTEEN YEARS.

In that time - 11 full seasons - they have made the play offs SEVEN times and failed to go up. Every. Single. Time. They have done so in style too. in 18/19 they lost in the semi finals to Welling because of a last minute penalty. In 12/13 they took a 1-0 lead into the second leg against Salisbury and lost 2-0, the winner again being scored in injury time.

Unlikely to win the division and with places 2-7 entering a play off, that is your most likely route to glory. Are you the Llama to end the unluckiest of unlucky runs? Let's hope so, because if you're still reading, you probably haven't got much else going on.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Go and look at some art at Chelmsford Gallery.

Now, this isn't perhaps as interesting as my usual recommendations, however I am putting this forward because it MUST be the worst art gallery in the world.

On Trip Advisor, it ranks 23rd of things to do in Chelmsford. For comparison, a kids BMX track is number 14, a soft play at number 7 and, brilliantly, the place where the park & ride collects you to take you into town is at number 17.

The reviews are even better than the Teapot place, as Rob M awards it 3 stars on the basis that "A surprising lack of culture in this city makes this one of the few places available to view art, the art itself is quite good but the lack of competition makes for an average way to spend your time."

My favourite is Mike F, who recommends a short stay.... "Its worth spending a few minutes seeing what is on offer"

Chelmsford Gallery, way down the rankings. Much like yourself
Clarence Park, St Albans
St Albans City, Southern League Playoff Champions 2013/14

Random Llama Suggestion which has taken into account lots of specific factors:

Club: St Albans City

City: St Albans

Media Prediction: 10th from 21

Board Expectations: Avoid a Relegation Battle

Why Them?: I have, of course, considered many (two) of the teams in this division for my random suggestion, but I have chosen St Albans City.

They have a squad which is quite unbalanced and lacking in quality so will require some work. Thankfully only one team goes down from the National League South this year. You just need to make sure it isn't you.

Their highest ever position is bottom of the National League, so that's something to aim for at least - a promotion & then not coming bottom. Ah, ambition. For those that don't know, St Albans is situated just a few miles north of London meaning that it is also likely that your youth intakes will be poor as everyone decent goes to far better clubs.

Your "basic youth facilities" won't help with that. Look, they're just not very good.

Good Luck, Random Llama.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Visit Willows Activity Farm, which looks tremendous (if you are five). It appears to feature a number of staples of children's entertainment, including sheep racing (the sheep are being ridden by stuffed pigs), overpriced refreshments and "reformed" criminals dressed as Fantastic Mr Fox & Peter Rabbit.

If you happen to be sacked on your birthday, you can hire a "party pod" and invite your "friends". Willow farm offer no food, no refreshments, and no secure place to put presents though, so be warned. All for the brilliant price of £50 per pod and £17.50 per person.

I did look to see if they needed anyone to dress as Miss Tiggywinkle at the moment, but sadly not. You'll have to find something else for your goalkeeper to do on a Saturday afternoon.

Stuffed pigs riding sheep, no quip needed here.

The Yellow Llama's Legendary Twisted Suggestion

Background: Ah, my legendary twisted suggestion. Hard enough to be legendary, but made even harder with a Yellow Llama twist. Which sounds more disgusting than it is. It just means that I've added a twist to the idea to make it harder.

For the less discerning LLaMa who wants to spice up their save. Not for the feint hearted, it has come to my attention that these might not always fit in with the official LLaMa guidelines. Look, you don't HAVE to try it. I mean I'm not holding a gun to your head. Yet.

Vauxhall Road, Hemel Hempstead
Hemel Hempstead, Uk's ugliest town winner 2013

Club: Hemel Hempstead Town

City: Hemel Hempstead

Media Prediction: 11th from 22

Board Expectations: Playoffs

Why Them?: Why them you ask? Have you SEEN their badge? Go on. Go and have a look at it. I'll wait. Yes, that's right. It is literally just Henry VIII staring you dead in the face.

This club, and in fact the whole town, seem to LOVE Henry VIII. This appears to be on the basis that he granted them town status and is rumoured to have stayed here, once, with Anne Boleyn. They really are dining out on this, and the club is nicknamed the Tudors.

They are predicted to come mid table and their history shows that this is the most likely outcome of the first season. The board would like you to play attacking football, and you actually have a reasonable squad to start. You could have a really long & successful career here. Well, a long one. Hopefully.

And now for the a twist of yellow (minds out of the gutter, please).... Imagine, under the watchful and terrifying and constant gaze of Henry VIII, that you were able to do something for him that no woman could ever achieve. That's right. On Football Manager it is possible that a SON can come through your youth accademy.

Now, this is down to random chance, so you probably ask where the challenge is in that? Well, legend has it that this happens in about 1 in 10,000 intakes, but that the better the youth facilities, the more likely it is. Well, your best course of action in providing a Son to Henry VIII is to upgrade the club's "poor youth facilities" & "Basic youth recruitment" and youth level of "0" as soon as possible. And then wait. But obviously you will need to wait successfully, because what you do not want to do is get sacked before you've given Henry VIII a Son. That doesn't end well (see below).

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Now, as previously referenced, failure to deliver Henry VIII a Son is generally considered BAD news. When he gets tired of your constant failure & fires you, he may also choose to chop your head off, accuse your entire family of incest and chop their heads off too. He might not, but then he might. So why risk it?

Just give him a Son, it can't be that hard. If you do fail though, one trick I have learnt from the Royal Family themselves whilst I've been in England is to just deny you were ever there.

Now this is dangerous because Llama's DO sweat, as you will know, but I am pleased to report that there is indeed a Pizza Express in Hemel Hempstead. However the downside is that I suspect that Henry VIII cares more about chopping off heads than he does your ridiculous alibi, so your best course of action is to just provide him with a Son.

Great tasting pizza? No Sweat.

And that concludes my suggestions and thus, my letter.

I will write again in due course continuing my yarn about how I managed to escape the clutches of Thompson and find my way to warmer climes, but now I grow weary and there is someone in my ear suggesting that I play with a "much higher" defensive line despite the fact that my defenders have zero pace.

I need to exterminate him.


Still fancy England but aren't convinced by any of the above suggestions?

Ask the yellow Llama to pick you a random English side