In Praise Of… Football Manager

For a twelve year old boy in 1984, could there have been a greater joy in the world then opening a birthday present to see the already-familiar rainbow logo that signified a Sinclair ZX Spectrum inside? I can’t imagine that there was. These were rapidly changing times, if one was a slightly nerdy child. Computing – and in particular home computing – was becoming a big deal, and the release of the ZX Spectrum in 1982 was a big step in the direction that led us, not much more than a year later, to the internet and, eventually, where we are today. The irony is that, even in this rapidly advancing halcyon era of computer gaming, one of the best games out there (and certainly, for at least two years, the definitive football game) was already two years old. The original “Football Manager” was the brainchild of one man – Kevin Toms. Toms first wrote “Football Manager” for the now long-forgotten TRS-80, before converting it to the ZX81 and eventually the ZX Spectrum. The beauty of the game was in its mixture of simplicity and the illusion of complexity that it gave the game player. You took control of one of a 64 team Football League, in a sixteen-team Division Four. You played each other team in your league once, and started in the FA Cup First Round and,...

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