Anyone who supports a professional sports team believes they know better than their team’s manager. It does not matter if you a hockey fan, love basketball, or if soccer is your game of choice, you will have, at some point, thought you could do a better job than your side’s current manager.
Oliver and Paul Collyer, two brothers from Shropshire, England, definitely thought like this. So much so that they wrote the Championship Manager game, which gave soccer fans worldwide the opportunity to become the manager of their favorite team, at least in the virtual sense.
The Collyers founded Sports Interactive to develop the game further and partnered with Eidos. Sports Interactive and Eidos split in 2003, and Football Manager was born.
Football Manager 2005 was the first game to use the new name, and the product has gone from strength to strength to the point that it is regarded as the best soccer management sim game of all time.
Sports Interactive adds new features and statistics with every release, and the game is so realistic that professional soccer teams use it to scout players! The game even features accurate betting odds for each match, check out the Sports Interaction review to see how accurate they are.
Football Manager 2021 is the latest edition of the series and is the best yet. It will probably only hold that title until the release of Football Manager 2022 in November. The newest edition is available on Windows, iSO, Android, macOS, and Xbox, making it the first Football Manager game to appear on the Xbox since 2008.
Players can control teams from 177 leagues across 52 nations. Coverage is heavily slanted towards European teams, but that is to be expected due to the popularity of soccer in Europe. An impressive 29 leagues are fully licensed, although Juventus refused to sign a deal so appear in the game as Zebre.
Also, the German national team is not licensed, but there is otherwise a clean sweep. Club crests and dozens of packs containing player data can be downloaded for free via the vast Football Manager community.
The Game Is Not Only For Gamers
While Football Manager is used mainly by soccer fans who harbor dreams of managing their favorite team, actual professional soccer teams have used and continue to use the massive Football Manager database to assist them in recruiting new talent.
English Premier League side Everton signed a deal with Sports Interactive in 2008 to allow the club to use the vast Football Manager database. Whether or not Everton managed to unearth some gems from the database remains unknown.
Several soccer fans have used their Football Manager prowess to apply for real-life jobs!
John Boileau applied for the vacant Middlesbrough job shortly after Steve McClaren left the club to become England’s national team boss. Boileau cited his success in Football Manager 2005 as the reason Middlesbrough should hire him. Amazingly, the club replied to Boileau. They stated he was an outstanding candidate but believed one of Europe’s elite clubs would come looking for him.
One Football Manager player did manage to land himself a real-life job with a professional soccer team. Twenty-two-year-old Andrej Pavlovic from Belgrade is an avid Football Manager player who guided Serbian side FK Beznija to 11 league titles and six Serbian Cup in the space of 16 seasons.
FK Beznija was not performing anywhere near as well in real life, which prompted Pavlovic to offer his services to them. To Pavlovic’s surprise, FK Beznija not only replied to him but offered him a full-time job with the club he had supported as a boy.
Although he is not managing the team, he works tirelessly as a data analyst. Pavlovic even revamped the club’s website and managed to find them a sponsor, showing that games are not only for entertainment purposes but can lead to careers.