My name’s Stuart and I’m an addict. My addiction is not to alcohol or drugs. No, it’s far more time consuming and pointless than either of those. I’m addicted to Football Manager.
I had that first glorious hit of the Football Manager mind-pipe back in the glory days of 1997/1998 (when it was known by its street name, Championship Manager) winning the double with a pre-Abrahmovic Zola-inspired Chelsea side and since then I’ve gone through phases of sobriety and relapse (usually coinciding with the summer football break).
Having lost jobs, appetite and a consideration for my own personal hygiene thanks to Football Manager addiction I’ve compiled a handy checklist to spot if you too are an addict….
You’ve Cancelled Plans So You Can Play Football Manager Instead
In much the same way that drug addicts will seclude themselves from the wholesome and stable relationships in their lives, the Football Manager addict will abandon plans with friends, miss the birth of their own child and skip a loved one’s funeral not out of some kind of antisocial feeling of shame but in favour of staying in and playing Manager. Particularly if you’re nearing the end of a season and still have the league and Champion’s League to play for.
You’ve Pulled Sickies From Work To Play It
Usually this is a combination of wanting to play the game and genuinely feeling like a tired lump of shit because you’ve only had 2 hours sleep having been up til 6am winning the league. When you’ve wilfully told another grown man (your boss) that you’ve got diarrhoea and intimated that you’ve shat yourself just so you can play a video game then you know you’ve got a problem.
Going To Bed On A Defeat Is Not An Option
You refuse to go to bed on the back of a loss fearing that (a) you’ll lose your psychological drive to immediately bounce back if you sleep, (b) you won’t actually be able to sleep until you get a win under your belt and (c) that your players will somehow know that you’ve given up and lose respect for you. Your simulated, computer-generated players…..let that sink in. I’ve obviously got some kind of psychological quirk if I’m scared of disappointing a computer game.
You Know All The Hot Prospects
Whenever you’re told a bit of transfer gossip a Football Manager addict will be able to identify the player, his temperament, what foot he prefers and which player he’s similar too despite never having seen him play in real life.
You Shout At The Screen During Matches
In fairness though if it’s a title decider or a late stage Champion’s League game then it obviously means more than real life success….
You Purposely Take Your Disappointment Out On The Player You Like Least
You’ll have one in every squad, maybe he talked back or complained about something you said in the press. Or you just think he’s past it and want to move him on (Rooney). Either way you’ll be harder on him than the rest of the squad, like the least favoured child. Jose Mourinho swears by this same tactic.
You Think You’re Matt Fucking Busby If A Young Player You Promoted Scores
What’s that? Your 18-year-old wonderkid came off the bench to score a winner?? You’re now a youth promoting dynamo like Matt fucking Busby…
You’ve Had Prolonged Conversations About Football Manager Despite The Other Person Not Caring
If you routinely speak at length about how you’ve utilised a Regista at the base of a diamond midfield to your obviously disinterested girlfriend for a half hour over dinner then you too might have a problem.
If A Rival Manager Is A Dick You’ll Start To Hate Them In Real Life
Like when you have a fight with a mate in a dream. I’ve had it in for mild mannered Spanish waiter Rafa Benitez for the last few months all because he called me unprofessional in a pre-match press conference.
You’ve Spent Time Making Yourself On Editor
You’ll also make yourself a much cooler, European kind of footballer than you are in real life. Oh, a quick-minded Attacking Mid who can also occupy a Pirlo-esque Regista role and is better looking and, despite being a random collection of pixels and data, a better lover too.
You Get A Weird Thrill When Player’s “Feel They Get On” With You
You feel especially proud when you’ve managed to win over proper world class players. Anybody can get a gang of youngsters to idolise you, just ask Arsene Wenger, but when you win over the ordinarily surly Thiago Alcantara then you know you’ve made a mate for life.