Football Manager 2035

The year is 2035. I am the manager of Leeds United.

I have Football Manager 2016, but I’ve been struggling to find an entry point. Starting a new FM career is a little like starting a novel you know is going to take you a year to read. I started careers at Manchester United, sighed, and closed the game down; I already knew too much about that story. I started a career with Portsmouth, sighed, and closed the game down; I knew so little about that story that I had no hook to draw me in.

One of the things I’ve always loved about Football Manager is the alternate futures it paints across seasons of play. Stick with a single saved game long enough and the years will progress while all around you players retire and move into management, managers are fired and move across continents, and unlikely clubs are relegated and promoted. That sense of a world beyond your dugout creates the feeling that you’re just a single person within a system larger than you, one that will keep going without you. It also, no matter how unlikely the outcomes, keeps enough stats in memory that you can follow the plot threads and see the logic of how things became the way they have.

The problem: it takes a long time to reach a truly interesting future. Adam’s farewell to his Football Manager 2015 save earlier this week mentioned he was in the year 2052, but the furthest I ever get tends to be around 2030. That takes me a full year of playing the game.

But, inspired by Adam’s feature, I decided to start a new game, I decided to remain unemployed, and I decided to go on holiday. For twenty years. I vacationed from the game’s starting point in the summer of 2015 until December 31st 2034, while the simulation played out unnoticed around me. Then I started to play.

“Play”, of course, means “trawl through the database to see where my favourite teams and players have ended up.” I do this when I generate a new world in Dwarf Fortress, one full of the rise and fall of orc kingdoms, but it’s also broadly the same appeal as naming XCOM soldiers after your friends. Remember that time your mate Jeff panic-fired and killed your pal Dave? Remember that time Jose Mourinho had a five year spell in which took charge of Liverpool, France, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday?

I find this stuff fascinating and have so far been inundating Adam with speculative fiction. He seemed entertained, but I also have this guilty feeling that it’s a little like telling someone about your dreams. I dreamed last night that Everton player Kevin Mirallas would be manager of Chelsea come 2035. I dreamed that my lead striker at Leeds United would be agitating for a move to “bigger club” Brentford, EPL champions of 2030 who are currently 8th in the league.

Or maybe this fits the exceptions about dreams it’s OK to tell: as long as it’s about friends you both know making out, then all is fine. We both know Arsenal, right? So it’s interesting that Football Manager dreamed that Arsene Wenger retired in 2016 and was replaced by Diego Simeone, who remained in position for a respectable seven years. It’s interesting that Brendan Rogers is their current manager after previously having worked at West Brom, Southampton, Fulham, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Norwich and for a dominant spell at Everton.

If nothing else, it’s interesting to me. It’s not the far flung future of the year 3000, but I’ve wound forward time to the point where every player is a computer-generated fictional character yet recognisable names are still playing an active role in football. It’s created a bedrock of backstory to the saved game from the very beginning, one which is more interesting than I could find in reality, and given me an entry point for beginning to play. I’ve taken control of Leeds United at Christmas as they sit on the brink of relegation, but my story won’t only be about succeeding or failing to keep them afloat, but about the slow discovery of a past I haven’t seen.

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  1. Marblecake says:

    Looking forward to this!

  2. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Hearing about the thousand-year game makes me hope to hear the trials and tribulations of the fledgeling Cyborg Division, but I suspect I’ll be disappointed if I actually look at it.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Graham Smith says:

    UPDATE: I have been sacked as manager of Leeds.

    After ten days.

    During which I won the only two games we played.

    • Bugamn says:

      I bet it’s ageism.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arnvidr says:

      That’s like the player who demanded a transfer after I hadn’t fulfilled my promise to give him more play time. We had not played any matches since I gave him the promise.

      • X_kot says:

        Management probably got around to double-checking your resume and noticed a gap of twenty years described as “Waiting”.

    • Auz says:

      That Massimo Cellino… never changes.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Borderer says:

      That’s better than Keith Mincher did at Carlisle United. He managed them for seven days and no games before he resigned.

      This was just after Carlisle stayed in the Football League by having their on loan goalkeeper score in the dying seconds of the last game of the season.

  4. Laini says:

    This is a really neat idea. I’ve had the same struggles really. I started as United but I’ve done that the past few years. Had an Atletico save, again something I’d done before.

    I’m kind of half playing an Eastleigh game but it’s not really grabbed me yet.

    It could be quite cool to skip 20-30 years and jump in then, without knowing “Buy Joe Bloggs, he’s an amazing striker you can get for £50” and all that, you know?

  5. frenz0rz says:

    Wonderful to see Spurs finally achieve fourth again. And it only took them 20 years!

    …oh, it’s only January you say? Oh good, we’ve got plenty of time to slide into 5th place for yet another year of Europa League…

  6. Zankman says:

    Aww, so, you missed Leed’s big comeback to the PL?

    Might as well try another save. :P

  7. yabonn says:

    Never played this game, but I swear I saw the cover’s mouth-dude in Succulent.

  8. raegenhere says:

    May I ask how many leagues/player you loaded for this game, and how much of it did you simulate in “full detail”?
    And how long did it take to simulate 20 years?

    It could be a problem only concernig older iterations of FM, but I read about problems with only partially simulated or unsimulated leagues, concerning the far future and youth development not being done(simulated), resulting in a lack of good players for some of the national teams.
    Anything noticable here?

    I wen’t a bit overboard on fm15, loaded practically everything and simulated full depth, just because i like the idea. I could go for a smoke everytime I clicked continue :)

  9. TGEmmaUK says:

    ah the game I both love and hate Football Manager 2016, I completely love your idea, and tbf have been doing the same myself except it seems I’m having a different path to you already and ive only advanced like 7 seasons a year at a time, I chose to only select England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland due to my computers limits but I have expanded to a HUGE database thanks to FMBase, and I also used a edited database that included things the default database doesn’t, loans after a certain date. I chose around a hundred players I wanted to keep an eye on and started advancing nothing much unexpected happened for the first season except maybe Nigel Adkins being sacked from Sheffield United just after January Window closed (which as a blades fan has me worried) aswell as seing Sheffield Wedndsay promoted to the EPL, I was very surprised to see new Liverpool Manager sacked and replaced by Diego Simeone and Van Gaal sacked by Man Utd and very shockingly me offered the job there which to continue without affecting the game I rejected which saw non other than Ryan Giggs become manager. the following season saw a massive shock as the OWLs (Wednsday) suffered an embarrassing relegation with only 1 point yes I said 1 point, a draw against Arsenal. the Manager was sacked and replaced by Teddy Sheringham, another worrying shock was despite Winning League One and the JPT the new manager at Sheffield United was sacked.
    3 seasons out of the way saw only 1 real shock as yet again a Sheffield United Manager was sacked after just 8 months despite surviving relegation.
    4 Seasons down saw Wayne Rooney Retire from football a Luton Town player and Sheffield United Billy Sharp retire as a player at Alfreton Town having played only 1 game, and yes you guessed it yet another manager was sacked from Sheffield United despite them finishing in 10th place in the Championship, aswell as Sheringham sacked by wedndsay after suffering relegation to League 1.
    season 5 began to saw change as Chelsea, Man U, Man C, Arsenal and Tottenham all barely avoided relegation by 1-3 points, the season also saw Wayne Rooney named as the new Sheffield Wednsday Manager gain promotion back to Champonship whilst across town after another sacking, Nigel Clough was given a second chance which was short lived as he accepted a contract at Valencia barely a week later, which saw Michael Doyle named as temporary Manager and Neil Collins named as Assistant Manager, a further 3 days later, Doyle was not only released as Temp Manager but also a coach for some Italian manager I cant remember the name of.
    Season 6 saw Sheffield United reach a high of 7th in the championship but manager sacked, Sheffield Wednsday got relegated but Rooney survived the sack.
    Season 7 I chose to manually continue between June and July in which I was offered 13 positions in the EPL