When I reviewed Football Manager 2015 way back last November, I came away without being drawn in like usual. That was largely down to the poor match engine, but the tinkering around the edges hadn’t capture the imagination. But recently I’ve been delving back in…
I blame it all on the EuroMillions really. Recently someone won an astonishing £93 million on the EuroMillions lottery, and it sparked a discussion at work about what we would do with that kind of money.
Along with the normal chat about donating to charity, paying for family mortgages, buying a fleet of Ferrari’s and Aston Martin’s, I mentioned that I would buy a football club. Only a small local one, but something to keep me entertained while I rolled around in my riches.
I came home and turned to Steam and the Football Manager 2015 Editor. I pondered what might be the best course of action in my mini-quest to buy a club. After past success with The New Saints in the Welsh Premier, I knew that a Welsh club would be ideal, but I didn’t want to revisit the Saints, a team who I had constantly led to glory in the past few editions of Football Manager.
I looked closer to home, I wanted a team that was based in one of the larger Welsh cities, so that if they ever achieved any success, they might actually be able to draw a crowd, and in turn the income to form a sustainable club. You see, the longstanding problem I had with The New Saints was that I consistently struggled to reach a point where their average attendance and season tickets would rise to a level where I could afford to keep the club going without the benefit of group stage Champions League football.
I looked through the editor and found Cardiff Metropolitan University. They fit the bill of being a club in a larger Welsh city, they in fact play in my home town, and I went to the University they are aligned to. The stars aligned and I quickly played around in the editor.
I didn’t make too many changes, I ensured they had a healthy £2 million in the bank, pushed them into the Welsh Premier and upgraded their training facilities a little bit. I left their reputation as it was (very poor), their stadium as it was (a 2000 capacity University ground) and got ready to get stuck in.
At the start of the game, I requested for the team to be filled with some random players for me to start with. I then promptly got down to business and scoured the lower leagues and picked up as many players with somewhat decent stats I could find to complement my youngsters.
I’ll state here that my issues with the match engine largely still remain, I just don’t think it is quite right, while some of the extra features such as tunnel interviews don’t really have much impact. But I was now playing Football Manager 2015 with a team I had an emotional investment in, and that can make one hell of a difference to how much you enjoy a game like this.
And I really have enjoyed it, I completed my first season without any cheating (apart from the pre-game cheating of course), which is a first for me, as normally I will reload the game before tough matches to ensure the results go my way. This time, I let everything play out naturally…and I ended up losing the title by one point to the dreaded New Saints. But it was fun, though my gripes with the match engine bore fruit as in the first half of the season I didn’t draw any games, and seemed to either win by a large margin, or lose heavily. I’m willing to move past that for now though.
With my second season nearly upon me, I will be taking part in the Europa League and all my games taking place in the Millennium Stadium for the first few months of the season. The board are turning my terraces into fully seated areas, so I have the prospect of playing in the Millennium Stadium with paltry crowds of less than 300 brave souls for my domestic games.
I’m sure it will be fun, and who knows, maybe I will succeed where I never did with TNS and build a self-sustaining club?