It’s been a while since I have sunk my teeth into a new Football Manager game. I invariably return to the 2012 edition, which is familiar and to me, easy to beat. I’ve achieved it all on that version, but what about trying out the latest version of the series? With that in mind, I recently splashed out on the 2021 edition, and having played out a season where I’ll shamelessly admit to having cheated (via the in-game editor), it’s time to do things properly.
So, in this scenario, I’m a semi-professional footballer who has just retired and now unemployed. I’m looking to take charge of a club, waiting for someone to give me a chance. An early interview with Wigan Athletic… didn’t succeed.
We drift into September and there’s no immediate signs of any managerial positions opening up. I end up getting asked by a journalist if I’m concerned I’ll be rusty. I answer that I’m looking forward to getting stuck in when the chance arrives. The headline is that I’m rusty. Gee, thanks media.
October arrives and still no opening. The Wigan position is insecure (a bit harsh on the newly-hired Leam Richardson, especially given a couple of early wins), which I find to be rather ironic. I get asked about my thoughts on the position becoming available, and I say I find it rather unfair on Richardson to speculate. After all, that might have easily been me on shaky ground. I’m also asked about my thoughts on my unemployment… to which I give the witty answer that I’m getting good at Football Manager.
October ends and I’m still jobless. There’s a few insecure managers – Stoke, Plymouth, Chesterfield (I have history with them on FM 2012), and intriguingly, Romania and Slovakia – so there could be some prospects soon. In fact, as November begins I declare an interest in the Stoke, Plymouth and Chesterfield roles – to see if I can shake things up. I’m asked about the vulnerable Mansfield manager Nigel Clough, but once again I’m not getting drawn into speculation about another manager’s job, that just isn’t cricket.
Meanwhile, Chesterfield’s fans are derisive of my interest in their club. Sod them. I’m asked by another journalist about Clough’s Mansfield situation and I continue to not commit to an answer. A short time later he’s sacked and I declare my interest in the role, along with an application. What fruit will this tree bear? Along with my application is still another question from the media, asking about my interest in the role, to which I give an enthused answer – I want to start somewhere.
Meanwhile, non-league Aldershot sack their manager Danny Searle, and in the interests of keeping options open, I submit an application. It can’t hurt right? Stoke dismiss Michael O’Neill from his role at the struggling Championship side, and well… I try to pounce. In the meantime, I get an invite to an interview with Aldershot. I also apply for the newly-vacated position at Championship Middlesborough, who part ways with Neil Warnock.
I get an offer from Aldershot, £900 a week. Well, that’s usually pretty good in anyone’s book right? It’s a one-year deal, so the team are clearly tentative, but beggars can’t be choosers, so here we go. Aldershot it is.