‘Something Pithy About Wayne Rooney’

There’s appears to be a widely-held misconception that RPS knows very little about football. This is a lie, spread by ourselves for comic effect. For instance, I know that my own country, England, has a dependably underwhelming team whose fans endlessly hark on about a match that they won by mistake 44 years ago, that an increasing number of the major UK clubs are owned by horrifyingly rich foreign businessmen, and that Manchester United have today announced the rather mysterious decision to sign a new five-year contract with the headmaster from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

I also know that a demo version of the latest Football Manager is huge news for an awful lot of PC gamers, and that 2001-era jokes about the game being a series of spreadsheets are enormously ignorant.

It’s over here, and in what I believe has been a tradition for developer Sports Interactive is available in a variety of flavours, depending on how much filesize you can stomach. This remains an enormously smart way to appeal to a less technically-minded PC gaming audience – the sort of man who could casually present you with a 3-hour litany about the recent sale of Liverpool but will curl up in the corner and weep if you ask him to download a gigabyte. It means a thousand megabytes, granddad – that’s the equivalent of 737 floppy disks, or 2945 of the old actually-floppy ones.

Strawberry (Steam, Bittorrent, Mac) is your man if you are comfortable with said gigabytes, and features these leagues England, Scotland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, Chile.

If you’re afraid of filesize, or simply have no interest in football teams outside of this green, pleasant and oh-so-bloody-cold-right-now land, you’ll want the 300MB Vanilla version. Only English and Scottish leagues in that one.

Both versions let you play/manage the first half of the 2010/2011 season, and smartly allow you to carry on where you left off in the event you pick up the full version of FM2011. Assorted links, covering Steam, Bittorrent, standard-o-download and hard-to-upgrade computers for rich people may be found here.

The game’s out on November 5th, by the way – exactly four days after I’m set to recieve my first-ever tooth filling. Oh God, I’m so scared. Of the filling, that is – not of Football Manager 2011 being released. There’s a part of me that would quite like to play it; despite a broad disinterest in following the sport in question regularly, I can appreciate any game with that much depth and strategy.

In conclusion, agreeing to spend massive amounts of money for the course of another half-decade on a moany thug who allegedly pays for sex, cheats on his pregnant wife and isn’t even much good anymore seems like a really bad idea to me.


  1. Brian Manahan says:

    Nonono, it’s foot-to-ball, not football.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Out with you, Yankee!
      Your country is the only one in the whole world where football means a completely different sport.

    • TXinTXe says:

      Yeah! And they call it football and play it with their hands, the bastards!

  2. monkehhh says:

    I had 6 fillings the other day, it didn’t hurt at all.. honest. (Honestly though, it didn’t).

    • alh_p says:

      you should brush your teeth more often.

    • Rich says:

      Also, lay off the Coca cola. The phosphoric acid leeches the calcium out of your teeth.

    • monkehhh says:

      I brush, floss, use special prescription toothpaste – the whole 9 yards – nowadays. The 6 fillings are the result of me finally getting a dentist and her attempting to sort my teeth out! Next stop.. private hospital courtesy of the NHS :)

    • Juror #9 says:

      not to mension that Phosphoric Acid, in addition to robbing your teeth of calcium, robbs the rest of your bones of calcium too, not just those toofers. your cavities are caused more by the sugar thats sitting there whilst throwing down an all-nighter on Defender, PacMan or maybe even Zaxon…

      in between rounds/levels get a bush in your crevasses as well as the one you sit on (that’s got to be rotten by now too).

      Happy Gaming!!

    • Wildeheart says:

      I think it’s so nice there’s so many RPS’ers ready to point the error of this guy’s ways from one mere sentence. How perceptive of you to deduce from it that’s he’s so thick he doesn’t know all this already. I’m sure he’d probably be out on the M1 playing with the traffic if it wasn’t for you helpful chaps. Long live the self important critic with no flaws of their own and therefore the right to point out everyone elses. Why not celebrate your massive intellect and generosity of wisdom with a nice big wank? You could even pat yourself on the back at the same time just to feel really skilled.

    • LevingLasVegas says:

      @ monkehhh: I hope you get yourself sorted out! I still got a broken wrist (10 years long now) and a broken foot (3 years long now) that I need to take care of. I swear, it seems that every time I have the money to take care of things, something comes up and all of my saved cash flies right out my account. And in the States, getting any kind of serious doctor work done for free or on the cheap is simply impossible.

  3. Andrew F says:

    No, that’s Ed Rooney. This is the other chap – long hair, likes metal, broadcasts a TV show from his basement?

  4. mrpier says:

    THIS! This is the decline of RPS!

  5. Iain says:

    Dean of students, not headmaster.

    I have watched that film more times than is perhaps healthy.

    • Rich says:

      It should be required watching.

    • Unaco says:

      I skipped the article to come down to make this exact comment (about him being the Dean of Students). But, you’ve done it already. Oh well… I’ll go back and read the article, and try and come up with a pun!

  6. Rich says:

    I have never referred to a ball-footing team as “we”, such as “we beat you last season by scoring a sufficiently higher number of goals in the allotted time. Ergo, your team is clearly less proficient at ball-footing than ours.”

    I suspect this means that this game is aimed at someone other than me.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Don’t forget, it’s only we when we win. It’s them when they lose.

    • Raum says:

      That Mitchell and Webb Look much?

    • Anonymousity says:

      @ BooleanBob
      It’s a fairly terrible situation isn’t it? I too feel so marginalised a someone slightly geeky that I’ve lost all sense of humour whatsoever.

    • Anonymousity says:

      Gah stupid broken reply thing

  7. Ian says:

    “I know that my own country, England, has a dependably underwhelming team whose fans endlessly hark on about a match that they won by mistake 44 years ago”

    I think that group is mostly populated by Clive Tyldesley and tabloids. In terms of actual human beings I hear more people talking about how England fans talk about it than I’ve actually heard England fans talk about it.

    More popular in this day and age is “Is this the shittest tournament performance since____?”

    “There‚Äôs a part of me that would quite like to play it; despite a broad disinterest in following the sport in question regularly, I can appreciate any game with that much depth and strategy.”

    RPS should totally do this. I’ve always been interested wondering how somebody with little interest in football and no teams or players that they support would get on with it compared to a fan who is likely to be biased for or against certain players. Just treating it purely as a strategy/management game that happens to be about sport.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well, I’m not a big football fan, but I really like playing Fifa. It’s great as a computer game regardless of whether you like the sport in my opinion.

  8. terry says:

    I honestly found the tactical depth of the recent FM games to be somewhat intimidating, and yearn somewhat for the simpler days of Foot-To-Baller of the Year, in which it was possible to be promoted, relegated, burgled, married and done for speeding multiple times during any given week (just like real life).

  9. Duffin says:

    Oh god, there goes another 2 months of my life. My addiction to the last one only died (and took part of my soul with it) when my hdd broke taking my savegame with it. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART MODRIC, ALWAYS!!!

    • Ian says:

      You know after 2008 I’ve completely failed to get into the games.

      Part of me’s gutted to have “lost” a series that I loved so much after playing for ten years. The other part is delighted it’s not stealing all of my time. :D

      So I’ll be trying to demo for this with several different kinds of trepidation…

    • fallingmagpie says:

      Me too. I’ve gradually played each year’s less until last year, when I didn’t get it all. Oh, for the glory days of FM 2005 in my 2nd year of uni, when I racked up (if I remember right) about 17 days of play on one save game.

    • alantwelve says:

      I didn’t get 2010, but my current 2009 save has clocked up 35 days, 10 hours, 8 minutes. Which is something I’m not proud of. And now that I’ve loaded the save to check that figure, you can probably add another 4 hours, or so, to that figure…

  10. Tei says:

    One of my friends in facebook, is always making comments about current events in UK footbal.

    Is the most misterious thing.
    “Come on Rafa, smash ‘Arrys face in!” “Chiles is an oxygen thief”


    Let me quote Moss from “IT Crownd”.

    Moss: (watching the football game) Hooray, he’s kicked the ball. Now the ball’s over there. That man has the ball. That’s an interesting development. Maybe he’ll kick the ball. He has indeed. Apparently that deserves a round of applause.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Are you kidding me, Tei? A gamer complaining about abstracted mechanics seeming ridiculous out of proper context?

      I could go on a huge rant about how the IT crowd was a hateful vehicle for Joe Public to further internalise and laugh at geek stereotypes, and that in a thoroughly perverse twist that same geek/gamer culture desperately tried to co-opt it like a bullied kid thinking that laughing along with his tormentors somehow lessened the humiliation, but I – oh. Just did. Well, carry on.

    • Tei says:


      /* My reply is in perl */

      $c = "";
      foreach (split(//,$_)){
      $c = $_ . $c;

      print $c;

      .yroehT gnaB giB tuoba gniklat saw uoy kniht I

    • DrGonzo says:

      No, he’s talking about IT Crowd. I find that show frustrating. It does have quite a few funny jokes, but insists on saying geeks are socially awkward idiots. Last time I checked football was INCREDIBLY geeky.

      And he’s right if you can’t understand the appeal of football then how do you enjoy games?

    • alantwelve says:

      Am I right in thinking, Tei, that you’re Spanish?

      I can’t imagine being a Spaniard, right now, who doesn’t like football. World and European champions, beautiful to watch, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa, possibly the greatest international side ever, Pepe Reina and Victor Valdez as your backup keepers…

    • Tei says:

      Is more like a dude with diabetes living in a country of chocolate

    • alantwelve says:

      Kind of the opposite of being Scottish then…

  11. Richie Shoemakakakaka says:

    Football Manager is strictly an iPhone game for me these days. In any case, all my PC sporting interest is being poured into the Legendary Edition of Blood Bowl.

    • groovychainsaw says:

      A much more dignified sport, played by true gentlemen of the day, if you ask me…

    • Ian says:

      Rugby is a game for barbarians played by gentlemen.

      Football is a game for gentlemen played by barbarians.

      Blood Bowl is a game for barbarians played by barbarians.

  12. Guest says:

    Blood Bowl = Foot-to-balls?

  13. TeeJay says:

    “The Big Bang Theory” – making geek sexy or yet another pretext for a hateful stereotype?

  14. Rob says:

    Anyone who is even remotely interested in smartly written things which are about video games (and, at the same time, also not about video games) ought to devote a few hours to reading through Brian Phillip’s Pro Vericelli saga at The Run of Play. It is for Football Manager what Oil Furnace (for instance) is for Dwarf Fortress, only much, much longer.

  15. Xercies says:

    I tried playing these games but i was very confused and intimidated by the wealth of options involved. I managed to win one game with Bristol City but i kept thinking that was because of the computer and not me since i had no clue why i won.

    • alantwelve says:

      It’s because you scored more goals than the opposition.

      I’m here all week. Try the veal, etc.

  16. Pete says:

    I had to QA test an earlier incarnation for a living despite knowing/caring nothing about football.

    I’ll make all the spreadsheet jokes I want thank you!

  17. The Tupper says:

    That whole football thing has always puzzled me.

    Perhaps some clued-in readers can clarify this, but if one was to transpose football fandom to our lovely gaming world would it not amount to the following:

    Supporting a ‘team’ would mean that the supporter followed whatever software publisher happened to employ the people who created the games we loved when we were eleven years old?

    This ‘team’ could change hands for geometric sums every few years and the individual ‘players’ could go on to other things, but the ‘fans’ would still buy whatever was presented with the familiar branding, and (on occasion) kill fans of other software houses.

    If that’s the case, I’m arranging a rumble between my own Jeff Minter Young Team and the Melbourne House Casuals.

    Always hated those Hobbit bastards.

    • Bob Bobson says:

      A better analogy is comparing football to religion. Most people follow that of their parents or whatever’s most popular. Once you’re lumbered with one giving up is a massive wrench and so would be following a different one.

      Most people who end up at football matches week in week out in the pouring rain aren’t supporting that team because they were 11 year old glory hunters who stuck with it, but because it’s the local team and their families team. If I ever spawn my children will either not care about football or follow my team.

      But this is a terrible explanation. If you want to “get” football, I recommend the book “A season with Verona” by Tim Parks, although what football means in cultural terms varies from nation to nation somewhat.

  18. Colin says:

    “I wouldn’t trust him any further than I could throw him”

    “Well, with your bad back Ed, you shouldn’t be throwing anybody”

    Grace the secretary is the best character

    • The Tupper says:

      “Makes you look like an ass is what he does, Ed”. Class.

  19. bill says:

    Think of it more like tribal warfare and it might make more sense.

    It never really made much sense for the poor english peasants to fight in the name of their king against the poor scottish peasants in the name of theirs – but humans seem to like to be in tribes. It’s how they identify.

    Anyway, isn’t it essentially what happens in the game world? nintendo fanboys will defend nintendo to the end, no matter who is running it or who is developing. obsidian fans will fight in their name despite the fact they fail every time.

    As for the game itself, i never understood it – but it was actually a post this year on RPS that taught me to, if not enjoy, at least appreciate it. It’s not about the ball, it’s about the space and movement.

  20. luckystriker says:

    49 comments in, would anyone actually care to comment about, you know, the game?