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Management consultancy

By October 21, 2009August 10th, 20102 Comments

CM3 box (1999)If I could have another life to live, simultaneous with my own, I would probably spend most of it playing Sports Interactive’s Football Manager (aka Championship Manager). While I tend to scoff at those who get excited at Beatles Rock Bands and am baffled but impressed by those who take games seriously, I cannot deny my achilles heel and so every year I download the demo of the latest version and then force myself to not buy the full game in order to stay sane.

The 2009 version introduced half-time and full-time team talks, allowing you to gee-up or dress-down your team depending on your psychology, theirs, and the state of the match. Motivational options included “Show your disappointment at the team” or “Tell your players to do this for the supporters” and you could single players out for criticism or praise (“Tell Cole that you are delighted with him”).

What I really wanted to say (fairly often, in fact, as I watched my beloved Hammers realistically ship late goal after late goal) would be more like this:

And you ask Colin Boulton, ‘You want to give me the fucking sack, do you?’

No Boss,’ he says.

Well, you fucking will because you’re a useless cunt of a keeper.’

You ask Ronnie Webster, ‘You want to get me the fucking sack, do you?’

No Boss,’ he says.

Well, you fucking will because you’re utter fucking shite. Bloody rubbish.’

You ask John Robson, ‘You want to get me the fucking sack, do you?’

No Boss,’ he says.

Well, you will because you’re the worst fucking defender I’ve ever seen.’

You ask Colin Todd, ‘You want to get me the fucking sack, do you?’

No,’ he says, ‘I don’t’

Well, the bloody amount of money I fucking paid for you, I must have been bloody pissed out of my fucking skull. You can’t even keep on your fucking feet.’

You ask McFarland, ‘You want to get me the fucking sack, do you, Roy?’

No,’ he says.

No, what?’

No, Boss,’ he says.

So where the bloody hell were you this afternoon? You might as well have fucking stopped at home, use you were to me out there.’

You ask John McGovern, ‘You want to get me the fucking sack, do you, John?’

No, Boss,’ he says.

Well, you remember that open goal, that open bloody goal you should have stuck that fucking ball in?’

Yes, Boss.’

Well, that looked like a deliberate miss to me, to get your manager the sack.’

I’m sorry, Boss.’ he says. ‘It wasn’t.’

Fuck off,’ you tell him and turn to Archie Gemmill. ‘You want to get me the fucking sack and all, do you, Scotsman?’

No, Boss,’ he says.

Come on, admit it,’ you tell him. ‘You liked it better back in the Third Division, didn’t you? Come on, admit it.’

No, I didn’t,’ he says

You shake your head and turn to John O’Hare and ask him the same question: ‘You want to get me the fucking sack, do you?’

No, Boss,’ he says.

You point at Hinton and ask O’Hare, ‘You know how many centres he sent in?’

I’m sorry, Boss.’ he says.

No, you’re not,’ you tell him. ‘Or you’d be out there now fucking practising.’

You ask Kevin Hector, ‘You want to get me the fucking sack, do you, John?’

No, Boss,’ he says.

Really,’ you ask him. ‘Didn’t bloody look like that to me. Not when they took the lead and you had that chance — not chance — that fucking sitter when you landed flat on your bloody arse. They’ll be laughing about that in bloody Huddersfield all fucking season.’

You turn to Alan Hinton. You tell him, ‘You played well, Alan. Thank you.’

That’s from page 131 of David Peace’s novel, “The Damned United”: Brian Howard Clough giving his Derby team what-for.

And now they’ve made a film of The Damned United, my favourite English novel of this century, and simultaneously SI have just launched Football Manager 2010. I’m downloading it as I type this and I may not emerge into the light until sometime early tomorrow morning.

Bonus: Blackburn manager Paul Ince reveals how simple the game is in the dugout against West Ham last year. He lost 4–1.

Paul Ince - Tactical Genius


  • Jimmy says:

    Ah Championship Manager, a beautiful waste of countless hours of my life. But the ways it benefits, I relate to my Scottish girlfriend’s parents by talking about all the different lower division teams. Teams I only know through taking Albion Rovers to the Scottish Premier League.

    I couldn’t handle the later versions after 01/02 though; the game got far too complex for me, so in the odd occasions i’ve gone back to the game I just download a database conversion to bump it up to today’s players.

    Unfortunately the trailer for ‘The Damned United’ is yet to inspire me to want to trundle along and check the film out. Should I change my mind?

    • dano says:

      You could easily wait for the DVD. Or for it to turn up on Sunday night TV. But if it crosses your path you should check it out. Full-ish review to be posted shortly.