Football Manager 2035 + 10 Days

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

The year is 2035 + 10 days. I am no longer the manager of Leeds United. I got sacked.

When I wrote last week about winding forward time by holidaying for 20 years in the Football Manager 2016 beta, I thought that would be the end of the story. I’d continue to play the game in silence. But that’s because I expected the story to be a long, close-run relegation battle with an anti-climax no matter what happened.

I didn’t expect I’d win my only two games in charge and then be dismissed by the team’s owner.

Let me explain. When I interviewed for the position at Leeds, I was asked about my previously poor dealings with the press. I didn’t know that I’d had any poor dealings with the press. In twenty years of holiday I hadn’t really had any dealings with the press, although this might be the precise problem. It’s possible that I had failed to respond to two decades worth of press enquiries. It’s possible that my phone has been ringing and my inbox has been sending out of office responses for the majority of the 21st century.

I responded that I hadn’t had much experience with the press and that this experience wouldn’t come till I had the opportunity to manage a big club like Leeds United. (Flattery is useful in job interviews, I find, especially if you’ve been on holiday for two decades and therefore have no experience). I got the job, but this conversation in the interview translated into a promise to the team’s executive that I would improve in my handling of the media.

Press conferences are a contentious feature in Football Manager. In part because they have little to do with football – with matches, and winning, and tactics, and players. In part because there’s so bloody many of them – one before each match, plus in-tunnel pre- and post-match interviews, plus random press queries.

In part because, in their current implementation, they are kind of garbage: badly scripted dialogue trees which fail to reflect context or offer opportunity for meaningful personal expression. Sometimes you will be offered two possible answers to a question. Sometimes you will be offered six answers to a question, where four of them all basically say the same thing. Sometimes there is a blatantly obvious option missing. Sometimes the game misinterprets your answers, in ways which could be accurate press malice but which just as often feel like game design failures.

In my ten days in charge, I did a few press conferences. An opposing manager called me inexperienced and said I was doomed to fail in my new job. I dismissively called his comments childish. I was asked about a player on my team who had been agitating to leave, and whose pleas I had accepted by placing him on the transfer market. I was asked by the press whether this was a good idea, and whether it undermined my authority to other players, and in both instances I responded that I felt that I was making the best decision for the team since unhappy players benefited no one.

And that’s when I was fired. I don’t know if it was for the latter comment, which seemed innocuous, or the former comment which was days prior and also seemed relatively tame, or some combination of the two and something else I said. But either way: ten days, two won games, an exit from the relegation zone, and I was out of work again.

This feels to me like a failure of game design; the systems at work were opaque and therefore appeared random. It feels like a failure of simulation: some real managers are far more volatile than my calm answers and survive even amid other failures; a team charging through managers so quickly would appear to be in disarray; and there are fans and manager associations who would be angry at such an speedy dismissal.

In the days that followed I was asked by the in-game press, of course, about my thoughts about the firing. I could say that I was angry about it, but not why. I was confronted with a rumour that I had quit over some disagreement, but there was no clarification on what I had said that had been deemed so wrong, and no way for me to tell the press explicitly that I did not quit or that “The gits fired me because of what I said to you.”

And so the year is 2035 and I am no longer the manager of Leeds United.

I am the manager of Leicester City. I have traded a Premier League relegation battle for a Championship promotion race. I have made yet another promise to improve my dealings with the press. Every email and phone call I receive is terrifying. I will let you know how it goes.

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21 Comments

  1. Scott Constantine says:

    “The year is 2035 + 10 days. I am no longer the manager of Leeds United. I got sacked.”

    Nice to know we’re continuing tradition even 30 years in the future. ;)

  2. Premium User Badge

    Arnvidr says:

    I don’t do press in my FM2012 game. I send my assistant to pretty much every single one. Is this not possible any more? I’ve only installed the 2015 demo, but have not fired it up yet.

    • Premium User Badge

      Arnvidr says:

      Naturally, I meant “2106 demo”

      • Big Murray says:

        Damn, Football Manager 2106 and still going strong.

        Bet they still won’t have added the bloody women’s game though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ross Turner says:

      Yep there’s an option in staff responsibilities for your assistant to handle any or all press interviews. I set them to handle tunnel interviews as I’ve never seen any direct results of them – again a bit of an opaque game design choice.

  3. Gothnak says:

    The whole game is opaque really. You win a game 3-0. You reload and you lose the same game 2-0, why is this? no one knows…

    At least they have the assistant manager in games saying ‘There is too big of a gap between midfield and attack etc… But that doesn’t really give you all the information to fix the problems.

    • Premium User Badge

      Andy_Panthro says:

      I think the last one I played was 2014, and in that I got frustrated when the assistant would say things like “The team is getting overrun in midfield”. There seemed to be no indication that this was either down to straight numbers (formation change required), or if my midfielders were just not good enough for the jobs I was asking them to do.

      Sometimes my changes would be positive, sometimes they lead to defeats, and I never really felt like I knew why, so I couldn’t fix it for future matches.

      • anHorse says:

        I completely lost all hope of knowing what was wrong in the last edition when morale and some weird yoyo mechanics (team at the bottom of the table is the hardest game every time) meant that I had no idea what actually caused each of my losing streaks (or how to fix it)

        I can count the number of times when my tactics explicitly caused a win or loss on one hand, the rest of the time I have no idea what actually made the team suddenly become much better/worse

  4. Cederic says:

    The whole press thing puts me off playing the game. If I knew how to handle people I would be out having fun, not sat at home alone playing computer games. Having to handle people by even more arbitrary unfathomable rules than even real life throws at you just isn’t fun.

    • Premium User Badge

      The Borderer says:

      Just tell your assistant manager to deal with the press if you don’t like doing it.

  5. Sene says:

    So I see we’re still owned by Cellino in 2035…

  6. Katanalx says:

    I’m sorry to say this but you are a lousy FM player… me and my 2 friends are in the year of 2023 in FM 14 and we started as Portuguese, UNEMPLOYED!!! My first club (Leixões FC) was in the 2 Portuguese league with a € 20.000,00 transfers budget and on the second season I was on the Portuguese first league! After 3 seasons I was in Mainz (1st Germany – 1 million transf bud) and after 2 seasons I was in Real Sociedad (3 million transf bud) to take the 4 place on the second season and the La Liga manager of the year title. We have 33 game days and I can assure you that the game is harder playing with several people than it is alone… So, if you cant get a place in the middle of the table with Leeds you, basically, suck at FM… One tip: don’t say what the presidents want to ear in the interview. Be a man and stick to your convictions… This way you will avoid being sacked being on the 1st place of the championship… AS Roma proposed me a job offer (they approached me) but I didn’t get it because I refuse to do long ball…

    • anHorse says:

      Dude you’re a lousy reader

      He took over leeds in the relegation zone with two games left
      He won two games and got them out of the relegation zone
      He answered some press questions
      He got fired

      • Katanalx says:

        I’m Portuguese but I’m not a lousy English reader. “He took over Leeds” He didn’t start the game unemployed with lower championships (Portugal, France, Holland, Germany second leagues), hence, he is a lousy player, period. All reviews that are made are always with clubs with transferring money. Star with Ac. Viseu or Leixões with NO transfer money (maybe even a negative number and the players already in the club are worth nothing) and with it win the second league, in your first season. Then I’ll call you a good player. When I finally get to Real Sociedad and had the money to buy all the stars from now, they were gone and all my team is made with players invented by the data base… If he win 2 games and still get sacked: lousy player! I have a friend who had the same problem and got sacked (not at the end of 2 games). Do you know how we call him? “interviews bipolar” angry, calm, all in the same interview… result: sacked! and of course LOUSY PLAYER!!! And we play 3 persons on the same championship witch make the game harder and harder! I still believe Graham Smith is a lousy FM player until he makes an article saying: “I started unployed, with no previous soccer experience, after 6 months was hired buy Leixões (22 on our 2nd league and with a budget of € 150.000,00) and took Leixões (change the name of the club for whatever you want but stay away of the english leagues) to the Champions League in 15 seasons”. And you know why? Because, even in the second British league, all players in the world want to go to england and spain even at lower salary. So, to be a Great FM Player you have to start with a real low league and take that team to glory… Not be fired after 2 games LOL

  7. dsch says:

    This feels to me like a failure of game design; the systems at work were opaque and therefore appeared random.

    Or, if you are Miles Jacobson or any of the moderators on the SI forums: It’s opaque by design! Crazier things have happened in real life (we landed on the MOON, for crying out loud)! It’s obviously your tactics! The devs know best and wanted it that way! It’s supposed to stop the player from becoming too dominant! Have we mentioned, it’s your tactics?

    • The Velour Fog says:

      You left out “you have to watch the full match not just highlights!”

  8. Premium User Badge

    The Borderer says:

    I’m playing as Carlisle United on the demo. Got told by the players and the directors that I should be aiming for mid table. 15 games in and I’m in a top of the table battle with Oxford, Portsmouth and Leyton Orient.

    I might have to buy this one when I was planning to skip a year.

  9. bobbylake71 says:

    Mass-imo Effect…

  10. timoffysmiff says:

    I lasted less than six months at Leeds United before I was sacked. Joining Sheffield United was me sticking two fingers back up.