What I like about this book is that it makes me realise I’m not the only one. In fact, it makes me appear normal. I’m 32 now and still play the legendary 97/98 with a friend once a month, as well as playing FM15 on my own occasionally. I recall my first ever league winners fondly. An Internazionale side featuring Eric Roy, David Batty, Benoit Cauet, Nicola Berti and other 97/98 luminaries. I don’t play as much as I used to though. I no longer spend 12 hours a day parked in front of a computer, or pull “cham man” all-nighters like I did when I was 16. Yes I’ve conducted imaginary press conferences in my head but that pales into insignificance compared to some of the stories in these pages.
The game, created by two brothers in the 1980s has now gone on to become a worldwide phenomenon. The book traces the history of the game and features interviews with researchers as well as quotes from celebrity players. It profiles, and in some cases speaks to, cult heroes such as Tommy Svindal Larsen, Daniel Braathen and Lionel Morgan. Players who could be picked up for low fees on various versions of the game and then turned into superstars. Some of the players were particularly melancholic about the fact that the cyber-version of themselves were more successful than their physical being, whilst others didn’t want to be reached for comment, understandably.
The book also features brilliant anecdotes from fans of the game. One is from a young lad spending a study year in Seville in 2006. He spoke so much about the game that he was mistaken as some kind of authority figure. Without speaking a word of Spanish he ended up working in the marketing department of Sevilla Football Club during what was a great season for them. Another story involves a young lad, who taking advantage of his parents’ two week holiday, goes native and spends the entire time taking his Hibernian side to the edge of glory. When it comes to a cup final, he dons a suit and screams so loudly that the police are called, worried about what is transpiring within his four walls. He comes clean and one of the coppers shoots him a look as if to say “I know, mate”.
The authors of Football Manager Stole My Life are all self-confessed addicts of the game. Iain Macintosh has just recently released a book entitled The Football Manager Guide to Football Management which is also sure to be a fascinating and humourous read. According to Football Manager Stole My Life, 35 divorce cases have cited the game as a reason, or at least a factor, in the break up. Once it gets its hooks into you it doesn’t let go. Football Manager Stole My Life is akin to The Bible for fans of the Championship/Football Manager series. A hilarious must read.