For the past couple of years my interest in Football Manager has declined. The series has felt rather stagnated with not much improvement. Design choices have appeared worse than previous editions. Football Manager 2017 was the last version I immersed myself into though even then my hours played hadn’t been significant. I did purchase FM 2018 just a few months prior to the 2019 release. Seemingly poor judgement but with the new football season starting I had an urge to be a manager. I previously dismissed 2018 as the demo hadn’t taken my fancy. I didn’t like the overly colourful design. Whilst playing Football Manager subtle improvements began to seem more important such as the team bonding which had me unexpectedly excited for FM 19.
Football Manager 2019 has pulled me back into the series when I came close to leaving for good. An avid player since the 97/98 Championship Manager. The addiction is very real, often multi-tasking whilst watching a real football match or TV show. The beauty of Football Manager is the ability to enjoy TV in unison.
Pre-season with my beloved Liverpool started positively. The season began with a few wins and the odd draw. A few weeks further and inconsistency crept into the results. This was hardly shocking as I hadn’t settled on a preferred starting line-up or tactic. An uncertain manager could hardly provide guaranteed results. This wasn’t the games failings but my own. The issues seemed to stem around away fixtures. At home the free-flowing attacking style worked a charm. Away from home exposed the gaping weaknesses in the midfield and ultimately defence. I was leaking goals at an alarming rate.
After Christmas my position as manager became precarious. Results had improved significantly as I took a more cautious approach away to the bigger teams. The league points between 8th and 4th were negligible though to the board the position number was critical. I was under pressure to win each game which I managed to achieve. Slowly getting closer to the teams above. Then a poor result had me on the brink of dismissal. The only indication of this was from the press. News was circulating of my impending sacking should I lose the next match. No mention of anything untoward from players or the board. A win and more followed crushing any mention of a sacking. By the end of the season I finished 4th in the league joint points with Southampton but with a superior goal difference.
Final game of the season was an FA Cup final against Manchester City. The Premier League and League Cup double winners. I went into the final expecting failure and came out victorious. The season had gone from the brink of collapse to a Champions League qualification and FA Cup winner. The line between success and failure is marginal.
As a Football Manager veteran I’m not daunted by the complicated menus and features. It’s all been there from the start of the series. Fine tuning with the odd addition but it’s familiar to those that have grown up playing the series.
Scouting has improved with a rating score, star system and plenty of relevant information. Social media and news feels natural and organic within the football world. Press conferences are still boring and repetitive. I started my career being very hands on though ended the season with my assistant taking over most press-conferences. It becomes tedious and cumbersome. The same for a real manager I suppose. The problem is that the questions are the same as they have been for the past few years.
Players are delicate. Upsetting the dressing room is a death warrant. Cliques are formed with some players becoming more prominent than others. I tried selling Moreno early into my tenure as manager. All hell broke lose. This had a negative effect on the team’s morale which could be part of the reason for the teams inconsistency. I was only trying to cash on him as his contract was due to expire the following season and I had already signed Tierney from Celtic as his replacement. To recover the morale Moreno was sold at a cut price of £5 million to a team in China in advance of the January transfer window. His sale culminated in an improved team performance and results.
Training has been overhauled with more customization and improvements though this is one area that I have frequently avoided. With the more user friendly options I still refrain from tinkering. Even with the AI controlled assistant deciding training setups I figure even if it’s 80% efficiency it’s probably better than I would achieve. It’s just too important to get wrong. As manager there’s plenty more to be doing myself. I prefer to be a tactical manager rather than a coach.
Tactics are the best they have ever been. Now it’s even clearer what the player and team instructions affects with more information and stats available. Analysis before, during and after matches are incredibly detailed which benefit the decisions of a manager. VAR is the best addition to the series. The game stops when an important decision needs to be verified. A replay shows how close the ball crosses the line or the result of an offside decision.
Football Manager 2019 Review
Football Manager 2019 is as immersive as ever with some game changing additions making this the perfect time to upgrade from previous versions. This is the pinnacle of the Football Manager series.
Fascinated with gaming since the old cassette based computers. Custom-building and repairing computers for 20 years and have been creating websites for 5 years. I’ve been a geek way before it became fashionable. Video game collector and gamer. Mainly a PC gamer though do enjoy console exclusives. Created Zorf Gaming to share my passion for gaming. I’m the web-designer/developer, content creator, editor, video creator. In essence this is my passion and I like nothing more than to share it with you. Currently writing my first book ‘A Father’s Daughter’.