The nightmare visions of recreating England coach Gareth Southgate in Football Manager 18


Foot-to-ball is returning to its origin! A trio of lethal predators on a jersey!


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And what better way to celebrate England’s passage into the World Cup quarter-finals than recreating soon-to-be knight of the realm Gareth Southgate within Foot-to-ball Manager 2018?

Something… something is very wrong.

Foot-to-ball Manager 2018, like several previous Foot-to-ball Managers, enables players to create their own custom manager avatars by importing photos of real-world faces, be it their own or their meatspace manager of choice. You upload the photo, crop it so it’s Only Face, then specify where the major features – eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears – are, and it duly smears your image over a 3D model, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of that bit where him-out-of-Westworld escapes from cannibal prison in The Silence of the Lambs.


It can work alright – for instance, this is a note-perfect recreation of my own face (as created by editron Graham a few years back):

Me in Foot-To-Ball Manager 2018

Real-world me

Real-world me

So, I figured that inserting The King Of Foot-to-ball’s tastefully-bearded visage into FTM18 would surely be a slam dunk. Newly foot-to-ball crazed myself, I could then attempt to simulate the impending quarter-final against Sweden in order to predict an uncertain result (but that’s a story for later).

First things first, an appropriate photo of Southgate was required. Copyright laws prevent me from reproducing that image within this post, but it was a widely-used press association shot which you may look upon with your own eyes here. He’s all smiley and twinkly-eyed in it, the very picture of the gent who gave heartbroken Colombians a post-match cuddle yesterday.

I clicked his eyeballs and stroked my cursor affectionately around his fulsome lips, found the prow of his regal nose and guessed where I presumed his real chin ended behind the beard. This would be The Ultimate Southgate. FTM18 took a moment to think, and then, the moment of glorious truth AAAAAAAAAAAAH KILL WITH FIRE


His eyes… what the hell happened to his eyes?


No wonder this England team is beating expectations. Their manager is the puppet of an alien invasion.

The most shocking element of all this? FTM18’s manager designer features NO WAISTCOATS, so I am stuck with a bland suit’n’shirt recreation of this new style icon.

Shocked and appalled by what I had made, there was only one to solution – to hide this monstrous face from the world. Fortunately, there was real-world precedent for this. A shamed and guilt-stricken Gareth Southgate attempted to atone for his Euro 96 penalty failure by earning a lot of money appearing in a Pizza Hut advert, wearing a paper bag over his hated boat-race all the while:

Man, the 90s, eh? The mild banter, the hair gel, the deep crusts…

In any case, Paper Bag Southgate must return to save us from Nightmare Xenomorph Southgate. Nothing can possibly go wrong.


Er, where exactly are his ears, d’you reckon?

I admit, I was convinced this endeavour was doomed – FTM2018 had already rejected several normal Southfaces as unsuitable for generation. How could an expanse of beige paper possibly pass muster? But it did it. Oh, it did. I give you – Gareth Myers.


All is right with the world.


  1. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    This reminds me of that time I removed all my skin only to find a lizard body beneath, remember that?

  2. geldonyetich says:

    Computers can only do what they’re programmed to, you can’t expect them to gloss over what the true face of sports fandom looks like.

  3. Faldrath says:

    Funny, I just posted a similar comment to Eurogamer, so I’m going to adapt it here:

    I don’t see England making it to the final. You might very well beat Sweden, but if you play Croatia, they’re a better team. And if you play Russia… there’s no way Putin will let Russia lose to *England* in his soil. He’ll come up with something (I don’t approve of this, by the way). I’d love to be pleasantly surprised, though!

    • TeePee says:

      Two words:

      Greece 2004.

      The beauty of knockout competition is that the best team on paper doesn’t always win it. One team has a bad day, or the opposition has a particularly good day, and suddenly you’re looking at 8 quarter-finalists who don’t have a single player that has ever even played in a WC final between them.
      Cup competitions are the ones that create the drama and emotion, because everything can hinge on a single pivotal moment – see last night for example.

      (also FWIW, I don’t see us winning it either, although I think the final is a possibility – Croatia is a 60/40 in their favour at worst. France/Uruguay/Brazil are all markedly better sides, and should beat us even without playing their best. Belgium is the only one left on that side of the draw that I see as even a half-chance.)

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        We of Sweden haven’t gotten this far since the magical summer of ’94 when we won bronze, so of course people are expecting/hoping something similar might be possible again.

        Frankly, I’m surprised at how good/fortunate we have been, although we have been lucky a few times with the ball bouncing on an opponent into the goal or getting a penalty against South Korea, which we nailed and was the only goal in that match. England is a very good football nation, but so was a lot of other countries that are now out of the championship.

  4. Plok says:

    Ohh I had just about forgotten about that beautiful beautiful Pizza Hut advert.

    Just press 7 to get to the good bit.

    • tialt says:

      No. Pizza Hut boycott still in place as a result of those ads.
      Added to the list… Nothing by Sharp, JVC, Vodafone. Don’t drink Carlsberg.
      It may be (is) totally irrational, but may have saved me a few bob over the years.

  5. Cederic says:

    I’m really not sure how you can claim ‘All is right with the world’ after sharing what is quite clearly the England manager wearing a full head facemask made from what appears to be flayed human skin.

    I mean, if it was the Colombia manager then after the behaviour of his team (and staff) last night I might believe it..

  6. BooleanBob says:


    Whisper it lads

  7. rusty says:

    I went to school with Gareth Southgate. Glad to see he hasn’t changed much.

  8. Pharaoh Nanjulian says:

    Does it have a ‘cheat’ team instruction, followed by a disingenuous press conference?

    An excellent face-creation, by the way.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I am an American who knows nothing about what we call soccer, but I still know that Pizza Hut commercial thanks to RPS constantly linking it.

  10. scut says:

    The only things I know about Gareth Southgate I learned from the song ‘Southgate’ by punk band The Business, and this article. Thank you all.

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