Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in…

The title of this post genuinely describes my relationship with Football Manager. Of course, it’s also a famous quote from The Godfather Part III and Michael Corleone, played superbly by Al Pacino. But why that quote in particular for an article about FM?

Well, for many years and dating back to the very first Championship Manager releases, I was always deeply involved. Along with spending more time than was healthy playing the games, I also became part of the FM community, dedicating practically all my free time to the games, one way or another.

I was an active member of the Sports Interactive Community forums as heathxxx for many years, moderating the Tactics and Training section with great folk like Cleon and wwfan, regularly debating strategies, or posting in the Good Player & Team Guide section. There’s still a team guide I wrote for Granada CF there, which brings back fond memories as the first time anyone had written about the club’s history in English.

From Humble Beginnings

‘All in’ might be the best way of describing my involvement with FM, or borderline addiction. However, that changed when the real world of football started to consume more of my time. Following Granada CF from the fourth tier of Spanish football to LaLiga as a fan, along with doing the FM research, I’d already made a lot of friends at the club.

Upon reaching the promised land of LaLiga, I was offered the chance to work with Granada CF, looking after their English language communications and social networks, alongside running my own digital media outlet covering Spanish football. I spent so much time working, travelling around Spain for matches, interacting with staff and players at the club, I had little to no time for anything else; let alone time to play a decent FM save when I got home.

After six years working with Granada CF, eventually it was time to part ways. Other journalism and freelance writing opportunities came along, although I remain a regular at home games, even now they’ve dropped back down to the second tier. My work still keeps me busy, but I have a little bit more free time on my hands these days and yes, that itch to play FM has returned!

Granada CF

Image Source: Heath, uploaded

FM12 was the last release I played properly, FM14 the last one I owned, so it’s both daunting and exciting thinking about what I’ll experience when I start playing Football Manager 2019 when it finally gets released. I’m also pondering what my first save will be.

As a lifelong Manchester United supporter, I’m tempted to hoof out Mourinho, take his place, achieve the opposite of Premier League predictions from Betfair, win the title playing attractive attacking football, then dominate everything FM19 throws at me with the Red Devils… Pep Guardiola and his blue upstarts won’t stand a chance!

Alternatively, I always enjoyed lower league saves. Starting in the lowest possible league in any given country, then seeing how far I can take them. In older versions of FM I always ended up signing lots of unknown gems from Réunion, but I don’t suppose they’re around anymore? Oh well, if not, I was always good at bargain hunting and signing freebies.

Some of the most interesting saves were completely random. Along with writing a lot of football content, obviously I read a lot too, so many of my FM saves were inspired by some historical information or anecdotal facts I’d learned about a club somewhere. After reading an interesting story about a team, that prompted me to try them in FM and create my own story with them.

Anyway, it’s been a while, but it looks like my return to the game I loved playing for years is just around the corner. FM… it pulled me back in!