Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughA beautiful game's impact on the beautiful game - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough A beautiful game's impact on the beautiful game - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

A beautiful game’s impact on the beautiful game

For the past twenty years Football Manager has grown into an unhealthy obsession for many football fans who (genuinely) believe they are capable of doing a better job than the real-life manager of the team they support. For many it is just a hobby that keeps us away from the dinner table and awake until 4am with chants of “just one more game, one more game ….” that began at 4pm the previous day. It has a community. It has hilarious stories of those players who cannot escape its clutches. For many it is simply escapism at its finest. So imagine many people’s surprise when you tell them it actually impacts the real world.


Football manager is more than just a game. Its database with its data compiled by over a 1,000 scouts, has been created to such a quality that it has been signed up by Everton to scout players and opposition teams. Upon the breaking of the news a few years ago, the game’s creator Miles Jacobson revealed that he knew of other teams who uses the system to scout players, despite Everton becoming the first football team to announce an official partnership.


The game hasn’t rested on its laurels however as it was confirmed earlier this year that the makers of the legendary game were to become the sponsors of Watford with their logo appearing on the club’s shirts. These developments are hugely significant as it confirms the importance of the virtual game in the real footballing world.


Its impact has changed the course of the footballing world forever. It has a very real legacy that has been created over the past twenty years that should be acknowledged and understood better. The database alone allows the average fan to scour the globe for the next big thing, using the same system that many professional clubs use. The game has also educated the average fan that has bred a better understanding of tactics and has allowed a glimpse into the workings of real-life clubs, a sort of VIP trip into the heart of the world’s football clubs from the comfort of your own home.


Many of us believe that we can do a better job than the real life managers of our clubs and vent our frustrations by buying that much needed left back, or that playmaker in the middle of the park who can spray the ball forward to the front-men. Sometimes we succeed, but often we fall flat on our faces and realise the real reason why we haven’t been snapped up as a manager of a real life club.


Personally speaking I have recently won a Premier League and League Cup double with a Arsenal side containing the likes of Pyatov (on a free!), and Tiote giving the team a bit of defensive steel. Of course my achievements aren’t likely to hit the back-pages of the newspapers any time soon but is a story that can be heard echoing through conversations of thousands of fans across the globe.


On the flip side would football manager adequately prepare real life football managers? In the case of David Moyes would it be beneficial for him to sign his real life targets in order to see how well they could integrate into his team? Obviously it is nothing compared to the real thing but any advantage a manager can gain is still that – an advantage.


If nothing else it can allow recently sacked managers to once again take a hold of their club to show them just how big a mistake they had made (just imagine that!). Perhaps Andre Villas-Boas is still pounding the keyboard in frustration and delight as he leads is Chelsea team to success after success, before realising he has a job to do. A realisation that many of us find themselves making after that 12 hour stint until 4am, and the horrible feeling of knowing not only do we have a few hours to depart for work, but knowing that come tomorrow we will repeat our mistake over and over.


Tomos Llewellyn