A love letter to Football Manager18th March 2020
The natural allure of the Football Manager Series isn’t one that you can attempt to emulate from a football fan’s point of view, at least in gaming.
I’ve tried the FIFA Manager series on PC. I’ve also spent countless hours playing career or the flagship Ultimate Team mode on console.
I’ve had little blips on mobile apps, which I am nothing but ashamed about. For a while I even went as far as Jumper for Goalposts.
All of which have their place in simulation and strategy football gaming, but none of which provide the hit Football Manager can.
If I can take you to the beginning, our affair started with the relatively simple FM09, think Carlos Vela, think Bojan, think John Fleck.
I wish I could see how primitive my squad depth and tactics would have been at 12-years-old.
Since then, I have bought (or been gifted) every Football Manager iteration from then until now, present entry included.
What has happened in that time?
New scouting systems have come and gone, the Development Centre – while in its infancy – has been a great addition.
It’s a relatively new feature but still, hitting Board Objectives are key to long lasting success in newer additions.
But, the real jewel in FM’s crown is its willingness to change.
Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive head honcho, regularly uses forums such as Twitter to take direct feedback from fans.
Positions are regularly revised, Mezzela, Inverted Wing-Back, Segundo Volente and Pressing Forward have all been worthy additions in our ever-lasting relationship.
None of this is outside the way real-life Football has changed though.
Pep Guardiola, for all his nuances, has been cataclysmic in how football is played. On the other side, the inflation in wages, transfer and agent fees has been emphasised through alleged sports washing owners and manic TV rights.
As a manager going through the football leagues, you very quickly need to learn how to handle your clubs Income & Expenditure as well as adapting to the change in playing style.
— Ilkay Gündogan (@IlkayGuendogan) March 17, 2020
The first aspect disbelievers might highlight is the poor 3D graphics, the formulaic and often repetitive nature.
You’re not wrong in outing these moderately key details, but I would urge you to try and find a game which supplies a relentless feed of escapism and satisfaction in equal measure.
I dread to think of the sunny days and experiences I’ve missed while scouting the A-League or the Danish Superliga, looking for the next Tim Cahill or Christian Eriksen.
More often than not, you’ll have absolutely no outcome, but that one time where you manage to organise tutoring sessions between a club legend and your Danish wonder kid, you’ll find yourself coming back sooner than anticipated for another hit.
Whether it be bringing York City out of the doldrums and converting The Ministermen into a relentless wonder kid factory, getting to the League Cup Final with financially tasked Portsmouth or dominating Europe with your home-town team:
Football Manager will never fail to give you a roller coaster ride with teams you never thought you would find close to your heart.
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