Last night, I went to see the comedian Tony Jameson at the Arts Centre. His show was titled, ‘Football Manager ruined my life’ and looked at the game. In one section, Jameson gave examples of things that he has done whilst playing the game and whether he is an addict or enthusiast. This got me thinking about some of the things I have done/still do whilst playing the game.
Announcing goals: When one of my players score, I announce the goal scorer, the number of the goal for the team and the minute. Additional information (such as how many they have scored in the match or over the season) is also announced. When we’re playing at home, the scorer is announced in an enthusiastic manner and when away, in a downcast manner.
Offside goals: If one of my players scores and it is disallowed for offside, I will ignore the replay, preferring to spend my time berating the hopeless linesman; I will also have a go at him when he doesn’t flag for an opponent scoring whilst obviously offside. Conversely, when my opponents score and the goal is disallowed, I will applaud and congratulate the linesman for a great decision.
Fouls: How many times have I had a player through on goal when he’s been fouled? How many times has this happened and the referee only seen fit to show a yellow card? How many times have I had to wave my arms around in disbelief whilst having a bewildered expression on my face? Too many times sadly.
Players giving the ball away: If one of my players gives the ball away, a shrug of the shoulders is likely to follow. And if it leads to a goal? A shrug is accompanied by raising my hands and looking upwards.
Victory: A hard-fought victory, especially away from home, is likely to see clenched fists and me saying, ‘yes!’ to celebrate. Applauding the screen, for both players and fans who travelled to see us win away, is also likely to follow.
Team talks: Any player who has not played well, I imagine sitting in a corner, shoulders slumped and head in his hands. In contrast, any player receiving individual praise I imagine giving a pat on the back.
Press conferences: Press conferences were a welcome addition to the game. In old versions, where there were no press conferences, I would have my own imaginary press conferences, quite often in a special press conference room (the bathroom).
FA reactions: If I am comfortably winning the game, I will replace one of my attacking players with my substitute goalkeeper for the closing minutes and imagine how the FA would react to that.
Great performances: A striker who has scored a hat-trick? A midfielder who has run the game? They deserve their own special recognition, so I will substitute them with a couple of minutes to go so they can receive the applause and appreciation of the crowd. And mine.
So, addict or enthusiast?