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The Manchester United fan who lets his Redness affect him playing Football Manager

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  • The Manchester United fan who lets his Redness affect him playing Football Manager

    This article first appeared in Red News 207.

    Us Football Manager aficionados have a bad rep with you Red News readers.

    You think because we have won a few virtual trophies in a world that doesn’t even exist we know more than Fergie, or because we once signed some nobody at 13 and turned him into a world beater who could score 450 goals a season, we know more than Martin Ferguson. Well, scratch that, we probably all could win that argument but there’s been enough digs to suggest that we’re a curse on the modern day football fan.

    But we can have fun without being a nerd - well, not too much of one - or at least enjoy this still fairly decent game that keeps us away from real life shit and real life nagging to not think we can then go to a game and think we can boss Michael Carrick around or offer coaching advice, or slag him off - we’ll save that for Young - nor that we are tactical geniuses, although in the real or virtual worlds, pretty much most of football isn’t rocket science. As an Everton mate said after Cardiff, a nodding sage each time Moyes has made a mistake which he suggests is predictable from his time at Everton, if you defend a lead, you’re going to get caught out. They got used to it. He wasn’t very good at it. And United can never defend leads!

    So you can take out any disappointments on that screen showing transfers to make, games to quit; if you’re losing a big game to city or Liverpool, in the early days this is almost compulsory. History doesn’t need to repeat itself. It seems irrational, but we’re talking about emotions at a computer game so by definition it’s that, but I like to think if I can’t treat the virtual world like the real one for much else - ie; Michelle Keegan isn’t going to suddenly enter my room and start fucking me after the pics I’ve looked at of her - with FM you can do it; hate Scousers, and city, and take it out, force it even, to its logical conclusion on a screen. It is quite satisfying!

    I can take this a bit too far, taking great delight in an end of season game which will help push Bolton towards relegation. ‘Fuck it’, I think, I’d enjoy that one for real so with their fans and their shitty chants and lack of fingers and too many thumbs etched in my memory form travelling to Burnden Park and and the Reebok Stadium, I nod appreciatingly at my efforts. I know it’s not real, but sometimes I wish it was.

    Unfortunately recent editions of the game have mirrored reality; so city are good, sometimes frustratingly, ‘is it city fans making this fucking game now?’ good. That many game quits you feel as if you’ve quit more than David Haye, but when it comes together, you’ve built a good team, you’ve fucked them over, it feels fucking good.

    You can’t explain it, it’s only a game, it’s not better than a wank, but it shows why we care so much about United proper because that is not a game, that’s life and shit, so here you can have some fun and distort reality, and you play it that many times when it throws up a fixed fixture list start, you moan as if you were Moyes himself. I don’t wear a United coat during my games though, nor shorts.

    I’m not Mike Phelan.

    Us vs city, level on points, me behind on goal difference, last game of the season. I refused to have another day like Sunderland away. I’m up for this. I’ve even paused it to have a good dump to prepare myself fully for the task ahead, without fretting that I may need a bog break. But I’m tired of quitting, it seems so much like wasted time and life; like watching the Hayley plot line on Coronation Street.

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    And then in the last minute some new Spanish kid I’d bought as a starry eyed teenager (who always wanted to quit in his first year, the mad arse) scored a winner. Title! City dejected. I can’t quite say it was Tevez last minute scoring for us at Blackburn goonage, but I fucking danced around the living room like a geek on heat. Explain that to anyone else, proper lunacy, like Gove with a new education policy. I was a mentalist then I can tell you.

    The polar opposite to city fan production staff conspiracy theories is clearly there don’t seem any Scousers in their offices - well that would involve a job after all I suppose - as their seasons go by, they are proper shit, no matter what, and rather than take the option that some dedicated (and way too much time on their hands) Utd oddballs have done by taking their managers job just to fuck them over royally, I take great pleasure much as Fergie himself must have by not ever seeing them on United’s radar. It’s twenty years from now. And they still haven’t won the league lads!

    I actively try and fuck them over, mind. Whatever can be done, say already having won the league and deliberately setting out to lose to a side who may finish ahead of them in 4th. How Gerrard must have felt that day no doubt against Chelsea with his efforts. He’s now managing in the Championship in my game. Not a top top manager that’s for sure.

    I wish the game were more realistic. Nani doesn’t blast all his shots into Row Z in this. There should be some pissed up loon from a United coach who tries to invade the pitch every now and then but gets nicked after falling over an advertising hoarding, as you have to wait outside some shitty town cop station until he’s released. But it’s close enough to real shit that you take a perverse pleasure in fucking Rooney about when he nexts tries to kick off over wages - I don’t give a shit in this or that world if you’re an unhappy fucker, and there's no Paul Stretford in your ear like the real world, his agent thankfully only sends you one message in anger. Take a hike son!

    I’m sure most of us players have arrived in the United hotseat, and immediately transfer listed all those we don’t like; Anderson, Young, Nani, out you go, it takes so long that’s half your first day’s playing time trying to sort the mess out there and then so fuck knows how hard it must be for Moyes with them all having long contracts. At least I can sell Ando to Wolfsburg for £10m - the nutters.

    All this shows is we’re United everywhere we go I suppose; and in everything we do. There is just that United moment when you can do something, and actually get a buzz off an unreal moment, imagining if it were but true, but happy even when it’s not, you’ve still done your bit for the cause.

    Outbid city. Refuse England your players for international breaks. Sell Macheda to Chelsea to fuck them over. Enjoy every Scouse defeat that flashes on the screen. I suppose I am as addicted to start up my next United game as Anderson scrambling for the take away menu drawer when he gets home. I’m not a nerd, not United’s real manager. Just sad. But having fun. Happy.

    It’s irrational, but makes sense all the same. I don’t want to become a coach or manager after playing it, but it would be nice every so often if we could quit a real United game to reboot some of the dross we’ve seen over the years. And if only we could win the quadrupole, beating city in the final minute of the European Cup Final in 2019 like I saw with my own giddy eyes. See, something to look forward to lads. It took four goes of that game mind. It may take ‘Moysey’ longer…

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