Rooney was born there, Pogba buys himself, Griezmann wins us: because football loves Football Manager

The most loved football simulator in the world was born with two tickets for a Blur concert and a friendship, today it is a phenomenon loved by curious champions, ds, executives. And that even Trapattoni one day learned to appreciate …

Giulio Di Feo

Faitout Maouassa, the French defender now at Bruges, wanted to give a press conference one day. Table, microphone, bottles of water, he sat down and thanked the group for the work that led Birmingham to promotion to the Premier League. But how, people said, don’t you play – at the time you did – at Rennes? Yes, only he was also a Football Manager fanatic and the result was such that an Instagram story had to be made. They are not monsters generated by the sleep of reason and quarantine: Football Manager is like that, it takes you and doesn’t give up, challenges you, generates hype and addiction like real football. Because basically it is the software that best simulates it. Not the performance but everything else: the finances of the club, the training sessions, the transfer market, the management of the youth teams, but also the effects of Brexit on contracts, the media and dressing room management of a player’s coming out or the cunning in the take a team by the throat in the last hour of negotiations. Amazed? No, Football Manager is sometimes truer than real football, and maybe that’s why everyone is crazy about it.

The genesis

Behind this pagan cult for millions of people are the Collyer brothers, programmers from Shropshire with a dream of using real ball data to have fun simulating every aspect of it, and a former singer, Miles Jacobson, who one day got them two tickets to the Blur in exchange for a preview copy of their new game, Championship Manager 2. From their meeting was born the colossus that Football Manager is today. The secret? “Let’s play football. We talk to agents, clubs, we follow everything. And then we develop a video game, ”Jacobson said.

He database

Football, in fact, and big data. Football Manager has a worldwide network of around 1,000 scouts who target footballers from all over the world, including junior and youth leagues. A group that has composed over the years a database with few equals, often also used by real clubs to make the market and that rarely makes mistakes: at the end of the 90s, for example, if you were looking for a young tip with large growth margins you could come across a kid Everton who, if well trained, ate the holders in a few weeks. It was Wayne Rooney, already a starlet here before he even made his debut. The communities are very lively, hyper-technical, they exchange advice or anecdotes about when Toulouse won the Champions League. With FM Solskjaer and Villas Boas have become coaches, Gundogan wants to do the same and has dedicated himself during the lockdown, at the 2014 World Cup Pogba was pinched to buy himself in his Chelsea, a few months ago in France the Villefranche-Beaujolais, third series , has announced that he has hired Dimitri “Warkik”, the French streamer of Football Manager, in his scouting department, to take a step forward in the management of the club and finally try the climb in Ligue 2.

The virtual star

Among the real football stars who try their hand at it, Antoine Griezmann is at manic levels. Last year he led Arsenal to win it all by sacrificing Lacazette in favor of Brobbey “the beast”, the center forward of the 2002 Ajax school just taken from Leipzig and who has in the game the potential of a Ballon d’Or. Now, anticipating the glittering Arab property market, he is giving it a try with Newcastle. This summer he sat next to Mbappé in the plane of the French national team, opened the Mac showing him the screen and said: “Look at this, I bought you for 150 million”. “Where is it?”. “At Newcastle”. “Uh, it’s cold there …”.


The most beautiful happened to Andros Townsend: one day his girlfriend wrote to him “What’s this story that you got fined because you didn’t show up for training?”. He has just finished training and does not understand, she sends him a screenshot taken from Twitter and he bursts out laughing: the thing had happened in the game of who knows who and then posted, she had taken it for real. And Football Manager also joined Coverciano, in 2000: in Turin a friendly Italy-England match, Trapattoni was nervous because the English coach Taylor had called up a certain Seth Johnson of Derby County, about whom no one knew anything. Apparently Albertini saved everything in a corner: “Mister, he’s a midfielder, good shot, do this, this …, there’s his card in the videogame I use …”.

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Rooney was born there, Pogba buys himself, Griezmann wins us: because football loves Football Manager