Regular Fixture: Football Manager 2011

It’s been RPS’ best-ever day for pictures of football games on the front-page! Nonetheless, you may have observed subtle clues over the years that this website’s staff are just a little bit shy of football nous. Subtle, subtle clues. This does not mean we sneer at those who do have said nous, or indeed at games based upon it. No! We revere them as much as we do all other games. Just slightly confusedly so.

Take Football Manager, for instance, the two thousand and eleventh installment of which was confirmed today.

FM is a proud and thoughtful Important Man Simulator series, sadly robbed of its original Championship Manager moniker during an acrimonious break-up with Eidos in 2003, but one that has remained one of the UK’s best-selling games. Famously, it’s resisted creating a match engine which looks like actual football for years, to the point that it made headlines when moving dots were introduced a few years back. All that’s changed with the 2009 version, and it’s something they’re continuing to push. The emphasis remains on accuracy and match relevance rather than showing-off – but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a little gloss. The newly-confirmed FM 2011 has emotions and everything….

Here’s Sports Interactive boss Miles Jacobson, who is a nice man I once went t-shirt shopping with in LA, talking about what’s new in the upcoming FM2011 and, most importantly, demonstrating the latest version of that match engine.

Also, watch his t-shirt. Or, more accurately, t-shirts… How many do you count?

Sounds like some substantial changes, and an altogether modern-looking game in both visuals and interface. Here’s some of those same points, but rendered in the curious medium old people call “text.”

FM2011 will feature more new features than ever before, including real-time contract negotiation, a revamped training system and a number of match engine improvements, Football Manager 2011 will once again raise the bar for football management games.

Football Manager 2011 is the latest iteration of the award-winning Football Manager series. Selling in excess of 6 Million copies worldwide, Football Manager has been topping the UK PC charts for the last five years.

Football Manager 2011 will be more polished than ever this year, and Sports Interactive will again set a new standard for the genre by adding a host of new features. For the first time ever, aspiring managers can now negotiate contracts with players in real time. And by working with a multitude of real-life football agents, Sports Interactive gained an insight as to how these negotiations can be made as realistic as possible in-game. Prepare to meet different types of agents in your contract talks; each with their own personality so will therefore need a different approach.

“At Sports Interactive, we always strive to give the end-user the best experience possible,” said Miles Jacobson, Studio Director at Sports Interactive. “The training system for example has always been the best we thought it could be, until now. We’ve found a way to make it even better!”

With the implementation of the most intuitive training system in the series history, there is a new “match preparation” area of training so that managers can give their team specific areas to focus on in the lead up to a match. There are also more basic training schedules for players, and 14 different individual skill areas that you can focus your players

Interaction with players, staff and the board have gone to a whole new level, with a host of new boardroom and backroom requests, a new player interaction module that allows the manager to have private conversations with players, as well as public conversations regarding players at other clubs.

Two years after the launch of the 3D Match Engine, players will see a number of improvements implemented for this year’s release. With over 100 new animations added, as well as more player emotions, new player models, new stadiums, pitch textures, improved lighting, floodlit night matches, more goal celebrations and lots of other extras which improve what was already the best match simulation on the market.

The other new features announced today include a revamped media module, which will keep the managers better up to date with events going on in their football world, as well as being more customisable than ever before, and the most requested feature that the Sports Interactive community have asked for in the last few years, dynamic league reputation, which makes for an even more realistic model of the footballing world.

Further new features will be announced via Twitter (@si_games), Facebook (, a series of blogs and the popular Football Manager Podcast in the months leading up to the game’s release. With more new features than anyone could ever fit in a press release, Football Manager will retain its position as the most realistic, most played, annually best selling, and highest reviewed football management simulation in the world.

Football Manager Handheld 2011 will also be available for release this year on PSP, including improvements in the tactics screen, a completely new skin, the updated database and improved match graphics.

For further information please go to or

Any FM / CM fans in the crowd? Make yourselves known! What do you most relish about this newest incarnation?


  1. Orange says:

    Yeah I had a break in the late noughties, but went back to it last year. It’s just fundamentally addictive for any foot-to-ball person.

  2. Metalfish says:

    That Green player is a SPY!

  3. Mr Bismarck says:

    I was addicted to 00/01. I was addicted to 06. I am addicted to 10. I figure I have a couple of years until a new version has the right mixture of new features and bug-killing to get me again.

    However there’s been a subtle change for me, from a macro game where I’d rip through a season in a night or two and the fun was about finding hidden gems and seeing them develop over their careers, to a micro game where a season takes weeks and most of the time is spent tweaking tactics to the nth degree to get the most out of the players I have.

    It’s partly that I’m getting older, but partly because SpInG keep adding stuff like “aspiring managers can now negotiate contracts with players in real time” – there’s just so much to do to get through a year now.

    If they made save games transferable between versions I’d probably just give them all my money.

  4. Pod says:

    I used to ferociously diss a Uni housemate who played CM01 (or something) to death. “It’s just a glorified spreadsheet” etc. Anyway, I pirated FM05 (or 6) for him. He refused to play it, saying he wanted to play ‘the purists” game. (i.e. he knew all the best players to buy, the cheat).

    I ended up giving the game a quick test and promptly got hooked, then went out and bought the latest one available at the time. NEVER AGAIN. It’s odd; I don’t even like football these days. But back when I _DID_ like football, as a 12 year old, I was never that addicted to the Amiga manager sims of the day, prefering SWOS instead.

    I still prefer SWOS though ;)

  5. Moth Bones says:

    Oh gawd… I’ve played most of them since the very beginning. Indeed, it’s only in the last few years that computer gaming has meant anything to me besides this ludicrously addictive series.

    Being as I am currently one of Mr. Cameron’s ‘scroungers’, I won’t be able to afford this one off the bat, but that’s OK as I’m still getting loads out of FM2010, my favourite since 01/02. I’m currently playing a ‘mod’ which sets up a huge 10-tier world league, complete with associated cups.

    As for the new features – the game has never managed to implement training properly, so I’ll be interested to see what they’ve done there. Certainly the idea of focusing training on forthcoming games sounds promising.

    I’m not sure what ‘real-time contract negotiations’ means though. Will it entail having to sit through a video of a sullen young man in an expensive but ill-fitting suit, flanked by his Mr Trenta Percenta, or what?

    • luckystriker says:

      @ Moth Bones

      what’s the name of this world league mod?

  6. Duffin says:

    Just when I thought I was out…

  7. Jockie says:

    Played every iteration since the original (made by Domark/SI obviously, switched over from CM to FM), when I was far too young to properly understand the game. ‘Glorified Spreadsheet’ is the often levelled criticism, but I don’t think a spreadsheet has ever made me cry out in frustration or air punch with joy.

    New features and tweaks to gameplay are always welcome, but I’d probably buy it even if it was just a player update, so I can lead Sunderland once more to the heights of world domination. My number one hope for 2011 is that player interaction and media interaction move beyond their current overly repetitive and inneffectual state.

  8. Pijama says:

    It’s a bit complex and intimidating early on, but afterwards…

    …Pretty much the best football game there is, IMHO. Taking Leeds from the League One to the Premier League was great! =D

  9. [21CW] 2000AD says:

    Hells yeah, I’m a massive FM mark, when it appaered in the L4D2 weekply poll I voted for it even though I was taking a break from it at that time. The FM series (it’s hard to pick out just 1) easily makes it into my top 5 games, rivalling Civ for it’s addictiveness.

    So yeah, I’m going to be pre-ordering this and playing the hell out of it for a couple of months aftr it comes out, another couple after the january window and probably on and off for all the other time before FM202 comes out.

  10. Nathan says:

    Wooh, FM! As a previous comment said: it’s right up there with Civ for ridiculous levels of addictiveness. All the myriad millions of options that are available, and the accessibility and ease of that button for ‘just one more’, make this possibly the biggest timesink on Steam. I managed to skip FM10 though, so I guess I’m in line for 11…

  11. Winterborn says:

    The improvements to the crowds looks great.

  12. drewski says:

    Haven’t really sunk a LOT of time into any since CM03/04. FM06 got a bit of a pasting, but I grew tired of the amount of work needed to be any good at it.

    I still play an awful lot of CM00/01, though.

  13. Freud says:

    I’ll skip this, having played both FM09 and FM10 quite a bit.

    The improvements are so minor between the games, even though SI do their best to make it sound like these are changes you can’t do without. Main reason for ‘upgrading’ is the player database.

  14. Spatvark says:

    Honestly, I’ve tried more recent versions, CM3, CM4, FM2010, but I’ve simply not been able to enjoy them as much as I do CM2 97/98. With the increasing complexity of each successive iteration, the less and less fun I’ve had with them.

    I’m not nearly as regular at playing 97/98 as I used to be, but since that version of CM2 has gotten fan updates every season, there’s always a new wave of players to scour over each year, keeping me playing an old classic.

  15. DPeezy says:

    Like most here, I’ve played most (demos first, always) and have become hopelessly addicted to various editions.

    CM 97/98, then CM 01/02 (still the best!), FM07, FM2010 & FML currently have been my major stopping points. I will definitely check this one out, but probably skip the minor improvements for next year’s (or the year after’s) “bigger leap.”

  16. ManaTree says:

    What’s interesting is that FM sells really well in Korean stores. I recently visited a retail store (which only had a small section of several shelves with PC games. :( ) and apparently, FM is like, the 6th most sold game there or something. After StarCraft and several Valve games.

    And out of several more casual-ish gamer-types I’ve talked to, FM was a popular pick.

  17. Dyst says:

    My friend Jack has played Football Manager for the last 4 years, buying every copy religiously on the first day. Bearing in mind that we are still very young, that’s quite an addiction.

    On steam so far, he’s clocked in 650 hours on FM2010 and 45 hours this week. d:

  18. Ian says:

    CM97/98 – FM08: Hooked.
    FM09: Eh…
    FM10: Tried the demo, couldn’t get into it.

    I’m both pleased to have escaped such an enormous timesink and sad that I’ve so fallen out of love with the series.

    I shall try again in 2011.

  19. Lambchops says:

    I’ve been resisting the series for ages, knowing i’ll just get addicted.

    Until this year when i bought FM2010 in a Steam sale.

    I’m still actually resisting it as I’ve got other games I want to complete but I’m pretty sure the moment I fire it up I’ll be hooked. As such no interest in 2011 from what friends have told me it’s only worth getting an update after 3 years or so – unless you’re obsessed abut having the latest stats.

  20. Danny says:

    Well I for one am obsessed with the latest stats.

    I actually think Football Manager 2007 was what stopped me from getting a 2:1 in my degree.

    My housemates actually got concerned when swearing kept coming from my room.

    Bloody Swansea City, equalising in extra time…

  21. aldo_14 says:

    I just checked, and have spent an utterly terrifying 1165 hours playing FM2009.

  22. myros says:

    Like others I tend to buy this game every other year, the whole anual version thing annoys me. It just ends up being minor changes charged as a new game every year.

    I didnt buy 2010 so will likely give this one a go.

  23. Bob Bobson says:

    I still have a savegame from CM 97/98 that two of my friends and I started in 1997. We meet up occasionally to play despite all now living in seperate counties. Was a proud moment for me when my wife (at the time fiancee) added a team to that game.

    Since then the next iteration I bought was CM 2010, but I’m tempted to get the next FM for comparison’s sake.

  24. Bob Bobson says:

    *sob* Will the new game feature code for your foot-to-ball team’s owner dying?

    RIP Saint Markus

  25. Gothnak says:

    Back on my Amiga i loved it, all the way to around 2000 i loved it, and then i started losing, and i had no idea why. And then i hated it, and i’ve never enjoyed it since… I mean i ‘want’ to enjoy it, but when you set up your best players in your best formation and you lose 3-0, you want to know WHY.. I don’t want to spend 90 mins watching the match, i want a report at the end of the match saying:

    You got loads of shots off but they were all quite far out and your striker missed with all of them.
    The opponent left winger got past your right back 8 times in the match, causing 2 of the goals.
    Your Centre Forward got 3 good headers on target, but the opposing keeper saved them all.

    In short, get a new striker or shoot from closer to the goal, get a new right back, and stick with the centre forward and put more high crosses into the box, and he’ll get lucky.

    At the moment, it’s 3-0, you lose, now trawl through some stats to try and work out why, and we won’t tell you if you are right.

    Thanks Football Manager… Uninstall..

  26. Alan Twelve says:

    I don’t buy it every year any more, but I’ll probably get 2011. The 09 iteration is, by far, the game I play more than any other. I’ve not really played 2010 much – a bit of a dalliance with the demo is all – but it did appear to iron out some of the issues in 2009 with the match engine, so hopefully 11 will be better still.

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone else untick ‘Use Real Players’ when playing? I’ve always found the obsessive compulsion that some people have about the accuracy of the players database to be rather unsettling and I actually prefer just having made-up guys. Especially when there are far more important issues that go unfixed (goalkicks!!!) than whether the correct Bosman transfers for the season have taken place in your imaginary football world.

  27. Kingmarzo says:

    Sounds more like Relationship Manager 2012. I just want to buy players and create a team. The media and interaction bits were always badly done and a waste of time in my opinion..

    • Danny says:

      But media interaction IS a big part of the Football Managers job… I quite like it, though I haven’t yet decided to storm out of a conference

      Press: “How do you feel about your new post as manager of ”

      Me: *storms out*

      I should do it…

  28. 18Rabbit says:

    Living on the other side of the pond, I am both amused and confused by the game of soccer and I’m not really that interested in sports in general. However, I love tactical strategy games and a few weeks ago I found this link on Bill Harris’ blog about a play through of FM09 link to Combine that with a $20 price tag for FM2010 on Steam and a very generous demo of the game, and I have spent almost all of my free time managing football teams at home and at work during my lunch breaks.

    I completely and utterly suck at it, and yet I can’t stop playing and have learned quite a bit about football along the way.

    • protorp says:

      I’m more meh about balls and feet than most, but that Pro Vercelli AAR had me both riveted and belly laughing . . .

      Funnily, I loved CM 97/98 despite being unfussed about real football even as a teenager. I intend to avoid the new ones as they sound like they’d appeal to the obsessive compulsive spreadsheet lover in me far too much.

  29. Selendor says:

    I’ve just picked up FM10 on the cheap and despite the worry that I’ll get bored before I complete a season (never gone more than 2 in any CM/FM game) I really like the way the game is now more about micro managing throughout individual games rather than the previous excitement-during-transfer-window but slog-through-the-season style.

    I think for players from outside UK/Spain/Italy FM11 will be a must-purchase because the dynamic leagues will finally allow their leagues to rise in stature, however as a UK player those new features don’t really excite me that much. Do I really want to negotiate with agents? Will that be fun?

    Also, and I’m being presumptive, when it comes to training, the majority of FM players just want to know that the settings are getting the best out of players and making them as fit as possible, once that is sorted its left alone. I don’t know what SI can do to make that part compelling.

    As ever I really couldn’t recommend this until patch 2 or 3 is released in 2011. I know its cynical but thats been the way of it for a decade.

  30. Jimbo says:

    I used to love these games back when they were simple.

  31. iggypopbarker says:

    it’s something only us obsessives will even notice, but the dynamic league reputations are potentially the most important improvement listed here – something the game has been crying out for for years. basically you’d hit a point with any club outside England, Spain or Italy where your club couldn’t get ‘bigger’ – so even if you’d built an amazing team at Celtic or Ajax or someone, you’d hit a point where ALL your best players would request a move away about once a month forever – even if you were regularly winning European competitions and thrashing the sort of team they want to move to.

  32. Rob says:

    Interesting to note that Sega have signed a deal with KTH to develop a South Korean MMO game, based presumably on Football Manager Live, but ‘tailored to the South East Asian market’.

    Anyone know what’s that likely to mean?

    link to

  33. TFM says:

    Latest FM 2011 news and interesting discussions are available here for you on this page