Football Manager szn, baybee.
That's right, Sports Interactive announced Football Manager 2020 this week with a first trailer – the game out for release in mid November on PC, Mac and (hello!) Stadia.
We're not expecting to see any feature announcements until partway through September (the SI elves are all still tinkering away figuring things out) but that's not going to stop the speculation.
There's potential here, you know...
It's the next step, right? You've got about 150 leagues to choose from in the Football Manager universe...and no women's football.
It wouldn't be an easy task for the Sports Interactive crew; you've got to build an entire league and international structure from the bottom up, and add a shedload of new players. You've got to code in ways for men's and women's teams to never meet in competition or friendlies; and the scale for ratings shifts, all this stuff.
On the other hand, Football Manager 2018 launched with ten Swedish leagues. So.
The best part of Football Manager is putting your squad together; the wheeling and the dealing, the selling the 30-year-old midfield general that your assistant swears is a 4* talent but never finishes a season with a rating over 6.85, the buying two 22-year-olds who have torn it up abroad to replace him...
...Hell, even the coming into a new club and stripping down the whole backroom staff to replace them with a ragtag seventeen-language, 24-headed monster to control your training sessions and scouting. It's the best.
So how about the option to make that your whole job? To be a director of football, the hirer and firer, and not have to worry about whether you should push your wing-backs up a bit against a mid-table team?
Disclaimer: The 90min editorial team would like to acknowledge that some people have a sickness which makes them create individual training regimes for every player, and recreate classic tactics faithfully. They just happen to be perverts.
Time Machine Mode
1993. Parma. Thomas Brolin. Gianfranco Zola. Tino Asprilla. Roberto Sensini. Case closed.
Better Press Conferences
Sending your assistant into press conferences is weak. You've got the chance to go in and set the record straight on everything, you should take it – and besides, you never know if they'll go rogue and call your star striker a bottler or something. Just because it's true, doesn't mean it needs to be said.
But if you did send your assistant to every other presser from about November onwards, it'd be understandable. Dealing with the media (it is, at least, realistic) gets massively repetitive. You mostly see the same 12-15 questions, you've got the same five answers (four really, 'no comment' isn't an answer) and...two, three times a week?
Fixing press conferences may be an impossible task, but sheer volume has made them a chore rather than a task.
Morally Bankrupt Mode
"Doping," an unnamed member of the 90min editorial staff has insisted on multiple separate occasions, "is great craic."
That should inform the general tone of this entry. There is chicanery and shenanigans at every level of professional football, and it's all part of the rich tapestry.
Doping, bribing opponents, buying refs...it shouldn't be easy. You should have your feet well under the table at the club and/or in the league in question, you should have a long-term staff who all respect you, there should be staggering punishments for being caught (stripped of all your badges, sacked, can't get a job above Serie C1 until you earn your rep back etc.) and the 'rewards' shouldn't be game-breaking.
But like...it would be great craic.
The best bit about this is that it would build on a mechanic that's already baked into the Football Manager – the manager's relationships with journalists. It pops up when they ask questions in press conferences, and informs...something, presumably, but nothing earth-shattering.
If you've got a journalist or two on your side, you could (as managers do in the 'real world') leak out a tidbit to someone favourable. Stir up a little bit of drama around a player if the pressure's getting a bit much on your results. If you want to sell a player but don't want to be Mr Bad Guy? Publicly insist he's in your plans and pass info to the contrary under the table.
It's fun. It's useful. It's a little risky. It's realistic. Get it in there.