Football Manager 2019

As a new release of Football Manager looms, it’s the time of year to ponder which team to actually start with.

I’ve heard great things about the game this year, from revamped tactics and training to the Bundesliga license and the, er, purpleness of it.

This year though, I’m excited to actually join the ranks of Shelley Kerr, Chan Yeun-ting, and Corinne Diacre in forging a path for female coaches in the men’s game. Manager Man has gone, enter Manager Woman.

Having played the game since 2005 when it was originally re-branded, I’ve seen it evolve a lot over the years. I lost touch with it a bit between roughly 2008 and 2015, but the past few games have seen me jump back in, especially with the addition of the more digestible FM Touch. Don’t get me wrong, I love the full game, but it certainly is easier to get through saves on Touch when life gets in the way.

Of course, there are typical saves I normally look at — Huddersfield Town, especially now they’re in the Premier League, are a favourite, being my hometown club.

Then there’s the classic Road to Glory save, taking a minnow from the National League North/ South and aiming for, eventually, Champions League glory. York would be a strong candidate for this save — it’s a huge city, a sleeping giant if you will, who definitely could have the reputation to go all the way.

But the introduction of the Bundesliga license is an intriguing one. For so long FM suffered from having to give Germans fake names (remember Oliver Kahn, A.K.A Jens Mustermann?), so it’s brilliant to see the license incorporated into the game. I have a soft spot for German football anyway, and with two giants having been relegated to the 2. Bundesliga last year in the form of Köln and Hamburg, it would certainly be great to start lower down in Deutschland.

Out of the two I think Hamburg would be my choice — not only have Köln managed to keep hold of high-profile players such as Timo Horn, Marco Hoger, Jonas Hector and Simon Terodde to name a few, but the history surrounding Hamburg and their infamous ‘clock’ is intriguing.

You see, HSV had the distinction of being the only team that had played continuously in the top tier of the German football since the founding of the club at the end of World War I. It was the only team that played in every season of the Bundesliga since its foundation in 1963, until last season when they were relegated for the first time in history.

To mark that stretch they had installed a clock into the Volksparkstadion, which ticked away with every passing season. Obviously, the clock had to stop ticking at the end of the 2017/18 season as they were relegated, and it now reads 130 years, seven months, and three days, to mark the time since the club was formed.

So, for a club steeped in such history, who have won six German first division titles, it’s imperative that they return to the top-flight as soon as possible.

That’s the challenge — to make sure Der Dino don’t become extinct, all while being the first woman to manage a professional men’s team in Germany.

Easy then, eh?