For those unfamiliar with the game, Football Manager is a football management simulation series that places the player in the dugout. Taking charge of a football team of their choice in a bid to lead them to glory.
The game has a dedicated cult following, one seen in very few other games. Last year’s edition, Football Manager 2016 has been tracked to have been owned by approximately 1,134,827 people on Steam. It was played for an AVERAGE of approx 323 hours (13 days!!) per player and even in the last two weeks players clocked an average of 25 hours. For comparison, we compared these figures to the best-selling Call of Duty game for PC, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 which sold over three million copies on PC alone (FM is only released on PC) – three times FM2016. Players clocked up a total average play time of 24 hours, with 7 hours played in the last two weeks. Players on Football Manager 2016 spent more time on average in the last two weeks than players ever spent on Modern Warfare 3.
While Football Manager is in its own niche market, it’s fair to say that it’s fans treat it as more of a lifestyle or a religion than a game. With Facebook Groups, Pages, YouTube Vlogs and Blogs dedicated to the fandom and people’s stories and how they got on with their chosen team. It is a game that has been cited as a reason in UK divorce cases. Many players get replies from clubs with vacant managerial positions thanking them for their application when they submit their FMCV. A chosen few have even managed to get jobs in Football clubs from their Football Manager achievements.The game has even had several books written about it, and I’m not talking strategy guides.
That said, it’s time to introduce you to the brand new Nerd Lowdown Football Manager series.
Valencia CF are one of the most successful teams in Spanish Football. They have won multiple Spanish League, Cup and European titles in their history including a fantastic spell between 1999-2004 where they also reached two Champions League finals along with two La Liga titles, a Copa Del Rey title & a UEFA Cup. Unfortunately, the team’s rank in Spanish football has declined significantly over the last decade and they currently sit teetering on the edge of the relegation spots of La Liga.
My aim? To bring Valencia CF, a stalwart of Spanish Football, back to glory and win a trophy by the end of the 2019 season. This coincides with their Centenary year as a football club, having been founded in 1919. With weekly progress reports for you, the Nerd Lowdown readers, where I will either be celebrating eventual glory, or crying tears of bitter failure – with a bottle of whiskey in hand either way.
There are a couple of reasons that I felt Valencia were a prime candidate for this little series/experiment, and to be honest I have made this decision without even looking at their state of affairs in the game currently. This could be my first mistake leading to ultimate failure… *gulp*. Valencia are not exactly flushed with cash right now, and while they have a bit of talent in their ranks, this means I cannot go out and spend with force. I’ll also need to ensure financial stability within the club too. If the accounts go too far into the red, I could be winning every game by a landslide and I’ll still be down the job centre sharpish. With some tight budgetary controls and a stadium that seats 55,000 I’d like to think that by end of season one (providing I make it that far) I can be a bit more flexible to push for glory.
Given Valencia’s struggles and having a few big heads in their squad, I’ll have to work tentatively to ensure there are no squad revolts. Some of these players are arguably Champions League quality and if other clubs come sniffing around. Valencia have a track record of offloading some big names for big money and if needs be. If the price is right, we’ll see what happens. But if I lose the dressing room, it’s game over. I’m hoping for a solid academy too, so that if I do lose stars I may not need to spend money to replace them.
La Liga of course contains the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid & Atletico Madrid who feature Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo & Antoine Griezmann respectively. There will be very stern competition if I do manage to make it to the sharp end of the table and start scraping elbows with the big boys. The likes of Athletic Bilbao & Villareal are no pushovers either.
Lastly, Valencia CF’s nickname is Los Murciélagos, or The Bats in English. Here at Nerd Lowdown, we’re big fans of Bats and Batmen in general, so it feels fitting to choose a team with such a nickname. Oh, and DC Comics did try to sue the club over the use of a bat on their club crest – so that helps, right?
Bienvenido a la Mestalla. The Fallen Bat Rises.
Somehow I thought modelling my manager’s mug on a facial scan of Ryan Reynolds may offer me more success… Stay tuned for Episode 1!