Football Manager: Has it gone too far?

Computer games such as Football Manager can be addictive For men of a certain age, Championship Manager (now Football Manager) was a rite of passage when growing up.

It was the computer football management strategy game where time was no barrier. Looking back, it was staggering how quickly hours and days could pass as you attempted to coax greatness out of the likes of Danny Murphy, Kim Kallstrom and Freddy Adu.

My best personal success was a guy called Charles McGuinness. Charlie Mac was a Scottish striker perfectly named by the game engine.

He was later to become an international legend under my guidance, as I led the Scots to European Championship glory. I always had far greater success north of the border. Strangely, I’ve only visited Scotland twice in real-life, but the debt that fictitious Scotland team owes me for those heady days is immeasurable.

Many years have passed since I last played the game. So, perhaps in an attempt to relive those glory days and hark back to a very misspent youth, I recently ratcheted up the latest 2017 demo version of Football Manager.

These days users have to download Football Manager through a platform called Steam. It’s not just whack the disc in and goodbye real world for the next month anymore.

In my guise as bona fide grown-up adult these days, I aimed only to complete the first league match on the calendar and then give up. The giving up part turned out to be easy. Mainly due to the fact that it takes so long to get to that first match!

Faced with a glut of pre-season fixtures far less appealing than when I was a teenager, I didn’t know where to begin. Luckily the presence of a virtual Assistant Manager appeared and offered to manage the team through pre-season. Yes please! Problem solved.

Then there’s the training. What, you want me to train these players too? No sir, I’ll let my put-upon assistant deal with that. Easy. Time saved = umpteen hours. So far, pretty simple.

But then I’m offered team reports. First-team, reserves, U23s, on and on – you get the picture. “Get to know your players”, the club tells me. Again my No2 does this for me. By now though, I was getting ticked off he was clearly capable of running the whole shebang without me. And that pretty much ended the experiment.

Former snooker World Champion Neil Robertson earlier this year revealed his addiction to computer games. Maybe if he’d delegated like on Football Manager it wouldn’t have become a problem.

Football Manager has gone too far now. Granted, there is a quick play mode to allow you just to play matches. But on the whole, the fun has gone out the game with information overload.

I wonder if the current creators were those, who like me, had played the game through their teens. They probably are.

Arguably you need that continued passion otherwise you couldn’t add all the extra stuff you never really want to look at but can’t help doing so.

Take social media for example. I struggle to find the point of it in reality but when it’s coming at me from all angles on Footy Man it intrigues me.

Rumours my club are about to sign a player hit the imaginery Twittersphere. It’s dafter than the real thing and way too involving for me these days, but admittedly that’s probably part of the appeal to those still playing regularly.

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