Football Manager is one of the best games in the world. It’s the game that finally gives those fans who reckon “they can do better than the gaffer” a crack of the whip at the world of football management. This is a game my dad has played for as long as I can remember, and I first encountered in 2014, with the release of Football Manager 2015.
Football Manager 2020 is currently free with Steam to download until March 25.
It doesn’t really matter too much what version you play, but, of course, like FIFA, each year brings updated teams, leagues, and skills. However, the premise stays the same: choose your team, lead them to success. This part sounds simple, but it’s worth putting a lot of thought into who to take charge of.
Often, it’s easier to choose a decent Premier League club (someone like Leicester or Wolves) and use them to get a feel of the game and its difficulty. If you fancy a challenge, leading a non-league club to glory over seasons worth of progress is often a good shout. You can really work here on the skills the game asks of you with a club like Torquay United, and lead them to win competitions like the Premier League and Champions League.
After you’ve chosen your team, you need to set out targets for your club which include signing more players, developing your club’s youth system and setting minimum league, national and international goals. This is what the board will rate you on, and something you need to clearly implement in your management. Are you a gaffer who’ll give the kids a crack or will you buy up the best players on the planet?
Like any football manager, the game focuses around these key things: what training exercises will you set up for your team, how will you deal with injuries and difficult players and what formation and tactics are going to work best for your squad? Identifying gaps and weaknesses within your team to make them an unbeatable force is a key element of this.
One of the most intriguing things about Football Manager is the transfer market - you’re like a kid in a sweets shop when you're glancing through the talent that can help your team. Setting up scouting networks across different countries can help you keep tabs on players who will suddenly flourish and become your key man in the team.
Furthermore, as editions have progressed, Football Manager has become better at focusing on youth development so that managers can nurture their young players into the superstars of tomorrow. In the 2020 edition, there's a youth development center that allows you to set up your team for future success.
If you’re a bit bored in self-isolation and reckon you can lead a star-spangled squad like Sunderland to international glory, Football Manager 2020 is currently free with Steam to download until March 25, an offer well worth taking advantage of.
Featured image credit: IGDB & @TheNorthernEcho (Twitter)