Football Manager: The Beautiful Game - FMBrotherhood
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Football Manager: The Beautiful Game

By callum | June 19, 2024 | 593 Views

Football Manager is more than just a game. It’s something of a lifestyle. It’s a passion. It’s a friend. The year was 1992, I was doing GCSE’s. Championship Manager released on the Commodore Amiga. I had the 1200, I thought I was fancy!

Championship Manager Poster
Championship Manager image courtesy of Wikipedia

I had always had a love of football, even as a Leyton Orient supporter. Then this game dropped. Utterly different from anything I had played before, but a successor of one of the greatest games I had played up to that point – Player Manager – a spin off of the brilliant Kick Off games by Dino Dini. Championship Manager allowed me to live the dream. Obviously I wasn’t cut out to be a professional footballer and, frankly too lazy to try, but management, surely that had to be easier and less effort involved. Right?

So began a love affair that has spanned over 30 years and not looking like slowing down any time soon.

Semi-Professional

Sure, I might have flirted with other games, even gone on scandalous liaisons with one or two that devoured my every moment (World of Warcraft, I’m looking at you), but Football Manager has always been that old faithful, that true love, that comfort and joy. Football Manager (FM) has allowed me to become more intimately aware of the wider footballing community. Teams I never knew, players I didn’t care about. Alas, I didn’t play it before my geography exam, as now my world knowledge of locations and stadiums is far beyond what I had it ever had been before this game.

I used to read the back of the Sunday papers, absorbing all the scores, scorers, tables and whatever statistics the reporters could churn up. I didn’t know it at the time, but before FM these back pages were my gateway to football management. I would take particular interest in every minutiae, learning everything I could, then I would grab my football and go outside and proceed to score every goal that I had read about in the papers. Kicking a ball against the wall and celebrating like I just won the World Cup was all fine and dandy, but the real thrill came from the wealth of stats that I was focusing on; nay, obsessing over.

I’d be lying if I said I could remember the first years of playing Championship Manager. I still have the original box and discs somewhere in a loft between mine and my parents’ houses, but it isn’t the start, it’s the journey that I want to focus on.

New saves – rags to riches

Over the years of playing this game there has been a trend in my gameplay that I prefer what has colloquially been labeled a “journeyman save”. That is to say, I start with no qualifications or coaching badges, and usually pick a non-league team from the English Pyramid. The object of my game style is to work my way up to a top team competing for the Premiership or whichever country I find myself managing in, as well as the eventual goal of winning the Champions League.

Champions League Trophy at Wembley
Champions League Trophy at Wembley. Image Courtesy of UEFA.

I consider myself somewhat a veteran of the game; after all I’ve been with Football Manager longer than I’ve been with my wife (some would argue that that is too long too). Yet despite the longevity of my virtual management career, I have never won the Premier League. I have won
numerous other leagues from Scotland to Czechia, Seria A in Italy to Bundesliga in Germany, with copious trophies in between.

Indeed, I have even won the Champions League twice in three years with my current save, but still the Premier League eludes me. Which is precisely why I love this game. Many times I have considered it to be too easy. I don’t concern myself with set piece training, I never do individual training and I don’t really dabble with tactics all that well, picking one or two that I can ultimately find players to slot in to from my depleting, aging squads.

Yet despite this apparent ease, the ultimate prize still remains for the taking. Even if I was to be able to win the Premier League, the desire to do so again would surely be so immense that I would straight away go into a new journeyman save for the thrill of trying it again, perhaps winning it the same time as the Champions League, FA Cup and more.

Next on the agenda…

Football Manager has a fantastic way of finding something for you to have a go at, finding something for you to try if you do think it too easy. That might be a Park to Prem style save, taking a lowly semi-professional club to Europe’s ultimate prize, or building up a nation such as
Gibraltar or San Marino, where the status of that nation could exceed Europe’s elite leagues, or perhaps honing your skills in a completely unknown league, India, Brazil or Korea.

You see, ultimately, Football Manager is an addiction. Don’t be mad – how can it not be true?
Why am I still spending every moment on FM when I’m not adulting, parenting or being  husband were it not for this addiction. The addiction is tasting success. In my life outside of FM I’m not exactly a legend, I’m not bringing in ridiculous wages or experiencing the highs of the beautiful game. Yet in the game, I have tasted success, and it was glorious.

How else could I get so close to the thrill of winning the coveted golden World Cup?

FIFA World Cup Trophy
FIFA World Cup Trophy. Image courtesy of Marca

This fantastic article was written by Robin Bonnick. If you would also like to write an article to be published on the FMBrotherhoood website, please comment on this page or email [email protected]

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