The Original Football Manager

For years, I’ve been playing football management games in one form or another. I know I’m not the only one who getting sucked into the world of management games but sometimes it feels like a drug. One that makes you spend hours tinkering with tactics, team formations. Spending hours building the perfect team that’ll win everything in the world. It’s not so much a game, but a way of life. For me that initial foray into the world was Football Manager on the Sinclair Spectrum.

It was way back in 1982 that I forked out the princely sum of £175 for a 48k (yep just 48kilobytes of memory) ZX Spectrum. With it, I bought two games, one of them would change my life from that moment forward. Flight Simulator was the game I wanted, but it was the other game, Football Manager by Kevin Toms, that took up all my spare time.

The graphics were poor but the essence of football management lay within it’s code. I was hooked, I played for hours. Seasons came and went as I struggled to take Sheffield Wednesday to the league title. I watched the awkward jerky style animation that showed me the highlights. I cheered when a goal was scored for me, hung my head in disappointment when we conceded. It became a way of life for the next thirty-eight years.

The game was brilliant for the times. A little random at times. I’d cultivated a striker for seasons to the top level (a 5) and the next season he was rubbish (a 1). At the time I thought it was unrealistic, then (in real life) we signed Jordan Rhodes and overnight he went from hero to zero.

It was my favourite game for over a year, I know I was sad. Then I discovered the delights of The Double, another football management game, this time with a lot more depth. That became my go-to footie game for years. Yet I owed it all to the genius of Kevin Tom’s Football Manager.

Today I play the up to date version. There’s more to the game, Now it needs a hell of lot more than 48K to run. The graphics are better, but the thrill is still the same. I owe it all to that speccy game. Thanks Kevin 🙂

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