Football Manager’s Miles Jacobson talks bad reviews, scouting secrets and Brexit
Devised in a field in Shropshire, inspired by mail-in fantasy football and utilised by clubs around the world – the story of Football Manager is an incredible success story. We were lucky enough to have Miles Jacobson OBE, the man behind the magic, speak at The Clearing and give a fascinating team talk on the influence of the game.
First released in 1992 as Championship Manager, over the past 24 years the game was initially slatted by gaming critics but has now evolved to become the number one cause of a worldwide addiction unofficially titled One More Match syndrome (The average time spent playing the game is 240 hours per year; or ten full days!)
Miles revealed that the game’s creators Sports Interactive now have over 1,300 scouts in 51 countries collating an astounding amount of player data. Every outfield player is given a score out of 20 for 42 attributes: from pace and strength; to concentration and flair; to hidden attributes like dirtiness and injury proneness. These statistics are debated, tested and tweaked before the game is released to the public and the bedroom managers take control.
As the game has developed and its scouting has become more sophisticated, clubs and professional bodies now fully embrace the games phenomenal database…to the point many actual partner with Football Manager to use it as a real life extension of their own scouting network.
Although stressing that no club should buy a player solely from Football Manager stats, Miles is convinced that there are literarily hundreds of transfer that have been conducted purely on the basis of their performance on the game.
Another example of how the game is crossing over in to real life is its incorporation of Brexit into the latest edition for the 16/17 season. Following the vote, Miles spent a few days locked away working out how Brexit would impact football in the future and produced a range of different scenarios that would affect the game, with varying probabilities depending on the likelihood of a soft or hard Brexit.
The detail included is so great and thought through in the new game that it was even raised in Parliament this week and Miles now has meetings setup with leading clubs across the country (he wouldn’t name names) to advise them on how they should be planning for Brexit.
But as the gamer evolves and the gap between fact and fiction narrows one thing is for certain: the thrill of your newest signing scoring a last minute winner will never die, whether it’s in the stadium or in the video game.