10 essential Football Manager 2010 mods

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Legends League

The next instalment of Sports Interactive's monolithic management series is just around the corner, but that doesn't mean Football Manager 2010 is out of the picture. Since release, the Football Manager community have even set about improving the game with new mods, databases and utilities. We've picked out ten of the best. Ever wanted to play in a league containing every single team in the world? Read on for new leagues, coaching tools, photo packs, UI overhauls and much, much more.

1. FM Genie Scout

One of the most well known utilities in the Football Manager world, FM Genie Scout is a program that allows you to veiw any number of visible and hidden stats in a game in progress. The most obvious use is to check the potential of youngsters and regenerated players, but it can also be used to see reputation, finances and many other things. Some might call it cheating, but we've left it up to you to decide. A new version of Genie comes out with every installment, so keep an eye open when FM11 comes out.

2. Huge Database

In days of yore, Football Manager used to have a setting just above 'large database' called 'huge database', which would retain whopping amounts of players (if your PC could handle it). Nowadays SI instead use the 'custom' option to give players more control over which players they import. Traditionalists, however, can download this and have the beloved huge database back. It's perfect for someone who wants a wide range of players but doesn't know which leagues and countries they need to load to get them.

3. Tug's Training

Despite SI's best efforts, training in FM has pretty much always taken a back seat to tactics and transfers. While some people really get into it, many players just aren't that interested. For such people there is Tug's Training. Just download it, import it into your training schedules and enjoy excellent 'hands off' training for your whole team. Tug updates with every new release, so this link will still come in handy come FM11.

4. Coach Calculator

In FM2010, the quality of a coach is defined by a needlessly complex and byzantine algorithm, meaning the best way to see how good they are is usually to sign them and hope for the best. Coach Calculator changes all that, doing the maths for you. All you need to do is punch in the stats of the coach you're eyeing and it'll spit out how many stars he'll get in each discipline. Handy for assembling that all-star team of backroom staff.

5. Steklo Skin

Skins overhaul the UI of Football Manager, which for a game that consists almost entirely of UI can be a very big deal. The well regarded Steklo skin gives a very pretty alternative to the standard choices packaged into the game.

6. Photopack

Ever get tired of the fact that some players in your teams have photos and some don't? Fret no more! Because this monster 2.7 gig photopack adds pictures to a colossal 70,000+ players, so you can finally find out what all those players of yours look like. It'll take a while to install, but what's a little hassle in order to see the beautiful face of Iain Dowie?

7. Across the World Data Update

In a Football Manager game, authenticity is everything. SI themselves usually release a current roster on release and then bundle in a data update with a later patch. Those who want an up to the minute version of real life transfers and emerging talents however have to look elsewhere. This database offers a fully updated transfer roster, along with promotions, relegation and european qualifiers. Not to mention a careful rebalancing of attributes to reflect which players are catching the limelight and which are failing to live up to their potential.

8. United GB League

This is one for anyone who has ever had the "What would happen if The Old Firm were in the Premiership" discussion. This database merges the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish Leagues into one combined system. Celtic and Rangers are moved to the top tier and various other clubs join the lower leagues. Ideal for any followers of Scottish football keen to see whether their teams can really hack it in the demanding English leagues.

9. World Super League

This little gem puts all the major teams in the world into one unified mega-league (replacing the English leagues) with several tiers. Finally you can truly test the best teams in the world against one another week on week.

10. Legends league

This custom database replaces the American Samoan league (yes, there is an American Samoan league) with the 'Legends' league, containing a whole bunch of well known teams with their most famous players. It is a definate work in progress however, with the maker describing it as "very beta".

That's ten of the best Football Manager 2010 mods out there, but here's a bonus tip to finish with. Due to licensing issues, SI couldn't include the real versions of the German, Dutch and Japanese national teams right out of the box. The thing is, the game database does actually include the right information, and you simply have to delete a few text folders to reset it to normal. Enjoy.