I started with the option to control my own finances and although most seem to be complaining, I'm wondering if the chairman controlling finances may in fact be more realistic, after all that's what happens in real life.
It needs to be correctly implemented though. If you get promoted or get into Europe he should give you a decent budget. Does this happen? Or do you always get left with a really low budget?
Also, at what point is the money taken? Do you have time to make transfers or change staff before the money is taken?
I agree that it's probably more realistic, especially if you were to start with an established team and an owner that was willing to give you a decent budget.
Starting with the bad ML regulars, though, it's just too challenging to get your team in a decent position for the start of the second season. True, I finished 14th in D2, and if there's anything that warrants a slim budget, it's that… but seriously, I made ONE transfer in season 1 (for $400,000) and promoted 3 players from the youth team. I wouldn't exactly call that wasteful spending, and I don't think it's too much to expect that your owner actually gives you enough money to cover your own payroll, let alone a transfer.
As for your final question - yes, you get a good amount of time at the end of the season to spend your money.
It could be a good mode, but it needs some work.