Exclusive Football Manager 2011 blog with Miles Jacobson: Day one, what is Football Manager?

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into Russian: Эксклюзивный блог Football Manager 2011 с Майлзом Джейкобсоном. День первый: Что же из себя представляет Football Manager?. Translation complete.
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Hello everyone, and welcome to the first day of the Football Manager 2011 blogs!

My name is Miles Jacobson, and I’m studio director at Sports Interactive, who are the developers of the Football Manager series of games.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be providing an insight into the new features for this season’s release, including revealing lots of new features that we haven’t discussed at all as yet so that you are nice and prepared for the release date, which is November 5.

This is the second year that MirrorFootball.co.uk have asked me to write blogs about the game, alongside our “players to watch” guide during the World Cup, and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to go in-depth about some of the new features.

One thing we didn’t do last year though, was actually talk about what Football Manager is – it’s all well and good us going in-depth for all the people who play our games each year, but will have left a lot of others scratching their heads trying to work our what we were going on about!

So, what is Football Manager?

Well, it’s what is known as a football management simulation. A “game” that you can play on your PC or Mac (there is a baby brother on PSP and iPhone called Football Manager handheld too, but that’s another story for another day) that acts as a simulation of the working life of a football manager.

All football fans have opinions. We give you the chance to find out if your opinions are valid or not! You think you can do a better job than Harry, Alex and Arsene? Prove it!

It’s not just about the home countries' leagues though. There are more than 50 countries' leagues that you can try out in the game and the world is there for you to play – and if a league you want to try isn’t already there, we provide an editor to allow you to add them (and there are a plethora of other leagues to download from the web).

And it’s not just about the top divisions either. In England, for example, you can manage any team down to the Blue Square North and South!

All of the clubs in the game have their real-life squad, down to the U-18 squads, with over 430,000 players and staff from around the world currently in our database, each of whom have hundreds of individual stats and attributes that make the players as real to life as possible.

Our database has become so well-known in football circles that it gets used as a reference tool for clubs, and we have an official deal with Everton who use it as part of their scouting network – we have the largest network of scouts in the world, with over 1,000 people in more than 50 countries and regions who are watching players week-in, week-out, at first team, reserve team and youth level. So FM acts not only as a football simulation, but a great way to learn about players from around the world too!

The game isn’t played in real time, so unlike fantasy league games it’s not a case of picking your team and then waiting for the results at the weekend – we have a full match simulation that allows you to watch your team playing against the others in 3D, 2D or with just commentary, and you control the tactics of your team completely, even down to being able to adjust how individual players should be playing.

You deal with the press via press conferences, players' egos via the player interaction system, training, buying and selling of players, balancing the wage and transfer budgets, scouting – anything a real-life manager would do, you can do in the game. Or ask your staff to do it if you don’t want to.

Basically, every game you start with Football Manager will be unique. As soon as you press the “continue” button, it’s your own football world. The computer treats you the same way as it treats all of the artificially intelligent managers you are up against, and your decisions decide what happens at your club in the same way as the AI manager decisions decide what happens at theirs.

It’s down to you to decide who to buy and sell if you’re not happy with your squad to create the ultimate squad for the team you want to manage. But if you think you’re going to be able to attract world-class players to Crewe then you’ll be bitterly disappointed, as the game tries to be as accurate as possible. But if you think that Arsenal need a new keeper, or Liverpool need a new striker, or Man City need another seven defensive midfielders, then choose to play as one of those clubs and do what you think is right – your decisions, your way.

We work with people inside football to try and make it as accurate as possible. After all, we’re attempting to create a football management simulation, and not a game, so their feedback is very important. As an example of that, we work with Ray Houghton, the ex-Republic of Ireland international, on our match engine. He gives feedback on the likes of the position of the players at any point in the game, and the tactical side of things. As another example, we also work with agents and chief execs on the contract module, to make sure that it accurately replicates the kinds of contracts that players would have in real life.

Unlike many football “games”, you don’t need to worry about which button is for shoot and which is for pass – the match simulation does just what it says on the tin, and simulates matches and how the players would react. You are the manager, and control things that way. You don’t need quick reactions, just the ability to make decisions, and make your opinion count.

If you wanted to find out more about Football Manager, in advance of me starting to talk about what’s new in the game which will start tomorrow and carry on until the new game is released, there is a free demo of last year's release, Football Manager 2010 available from this very site at by clicking here.

Meanwhile I’ll be back here tomorrow to give an overview on the new features we’ve already announced for the forthcoming Football Manager 2011, and a surprise or two along the way too, and will start going a bit more in-depth later in the week.

Cheers,

Miles