Football Manager 2006
Football Manager 2006 was a game that marked another annual release in the soccer management simulator juggernaut owned by Sega Interactive. This franchise is known for its hyper-realistic strategy, tactics, match day simulation and its ability to live the day to day life of a football manager in the most authentic way possible. Football Manager 2006 continues this trend and pushes the series closer to the real thing.
This series of titles play similar to the LMA manager series and the Championship Manager series. Although Football Manager has pretty much begun to monopolise this genre due to the move away from arcade-style management for a style that is governed by strategy, tactics and attention to detail.
An expansive Database
Even back in 2006, the detail and core database of leagues, teams and players were still stupendous. The game allows you to simultaneously play in a season with 51 playable and fully formed leagues and over 275,000 active players. It's more content than you know what to do with. Though coming from a country like Northern Ireland with footballing infrastructure about as good as a third world country, it was very much appreciated.
A laundry list of things to do
The game is a slow and methodical one, much like the life of a manager, it takes time and effort to craft a team of world-beaters. It requires getting your backroom staff in line, managing the finances, getting the best scouts to find the next big player. It means managing contract extensions, planning friendly matches, attending press conferences, managing egos of the top-end players and nurturing the development players.
This is just the actions that you have to contend with when you aren't even on the pitch or on the training ground. You still need to have solid tactics, team chemistry, your best formation on lockdown and your set-piece takers picked. It gets so detailed that you even pick the measurements for the pitch at the start of the season so you can facilitate narrow or wide play styles. There has been no stone unturned.
Additions to this edition of the series include the ability to express your opinion to players and opposing managers. You can play mind games akin to the famous Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez spat from this era. You can comment on managers successes and failures. Plus you can give team talks now. Meaning you can inspire your team to a dramatic turnaround in fortunes if needed.
A little too much at times
One thing that can be frustrating about this title is just how much responsibility you have. Although this is authentic and gives a genuine managerial experience. ItТs not always fun to wade through an hour of admin work just to manage one match of football. The tasks put on your plate can be a lot to ask of one person. Most clubs have the infrastructure to deal with all this stuff and divide responsibility evenly. Though the load times are a little faster than before which does curb some of that wait time between matches.
It's also a little agitating that in the early 2000s, these types of games would have fully simulated 3D rendered matches. So to have little circular cut-outs represent players is a little bit primitive by the standards of past football manager titles.
Live The Dream
There is nothing more brilliant than taking a down on their luck non-league side and gradually climbing the ladder to success. Getting to the top tier and winning at Europe's top level. It's a rush that can only be done authentically through this series and that's down to the fine detail that is constantly being worked upon and added to with each annual addition to this franchise.
Yes, there are drawbacks for those that prefer the arcade manager style. Plus it does seem rather strange that this title in 2006 couldn't render a set of 3D models to represent the match events. Though this is arguably to put the focus on the tactics and other features. Maybe that's generous but when there is that much on offer from developers, you have to give them a by-ball. This was a quintessential football management experience for the time and still holds up well today if you want to turn back time and play with your childhood heroes.
- An astoundingly big database
- So much detail and things to do
- Immersive additions to older versions
- Can be a slog to get from match to match
- No 3D rendered matches
Download Football Manager 2006
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
So I'm At the big Barnet vs Chester League Two clash. It's the usual routine: a few hurried ales before getting into the ground at 2.55pm, nodding to a couple of faces and taking my seat. Looking up, I notice that Barnet's keeper is called Flitney (it's written on his shirt), which seems somehow familiar. Remembering where I know him from, I unthinkingly announce to my mate that I signed him on loan a few seasons ago. Looking up from his programme, he simply stares at me blankly. "In Football Manager," I clarify. "It's not real," he correctly surmises, before returning to his overpriced pamphlet.
Of course it's not real. We know it's not real. But such is the resemblance to real football that it sometimes can't help but spill over. The sign of a genuine Football Manager addict is when they start banging on about their team as if it's real, and indeed as if anyone cares. It's a trait that I used to mock former ZONE editor Jeremy Wells for demonstrating, as he endlessly droned on about his Arsenal formation. Of course, this was before I'd become addicted and started boring people myself.
Guess what? Nobody cares. It's the equivalent of starting to tell someone about a really weird dream you had involving your headmaster and a goldfish - saVe yourself, they've already stopped listening. Yet still the game continues to absorb more addicts.
I was on a press trip recently with the usual bunch of slackers, quaffing foreign beers late into the night The majority of conversational gambits had been exhausted - even politics - when it eventually got onto games. One wild-eyed PlayStation hack then confessed how he sneaks out of bed - like some secret lemonade drinker (one for fans of '80s adverts there) - leaving his girlfriend slumbering, to get his newly acquired fix of Football Manager. And of course he made the mistake of telling us how he'd signed Dudek and blah-blah-blah... Cue glazed eyes, yawns and a rapid scattering towards bed.
Return Of The Smack
The good/bad news is that Football Manager is back, and is - as if you hadn't guessed - as chronically addictive as ever. It's not a problem for me. I can handle it As EastEnders' 'Nasty' Nick Cotton used to plea to his mum, Dot when she locked him in the spare room to get him off the smack: "I'm better, Ma."
Yeah, I'll have the odd dabble, but I've moved on. It's a beautiful world out there, not to be wasted sat in an airless room pondering over formations and tactics. Besides, with the mighty Chester currently riding high in League Two (in 'real life"). I've no need for a digital substitute.
Bouts of Football Manager addiction tend to come when your real team is struggling, causing you to attempt to see how you could do better. There's no way I could do better than current Chester incumbent Keith Curie, and I get my football kicks from travelling the length and breadth of the country watching us routinely twat several goals past the opposition.
But, just in theory, if I were sucked into the occasional six-hour session of FM 2006, I may have been mightily impressed. I might have enjoyed the new Quick Tactic feature, enabling you to make changes on-the-fly. I might also have attempted to change things at half-time with the right choice of team-talk. I could also have been intrigued by the new physio reports, whereby they present the information to you, and even ask if a player should be given an injection to get him through the game. The new match engine might have even proved useful, with injured players marked with an on-screen icon alerting you to their discomfort. Or there's the fact that the new snapshot page gives you all the info you need at a glance rather than having to flick through pages looking for finances, fixtures and so on. There's even the option to view player info in easy-to-read bar charts instead of numerically.
Even if I'd never played the game before and found the prospect bewildering, I could have used the extensive in-game tutorial to get to grips with it. Or, as an experienced player, I could have noticed how the new features subtly present themselves over the course of several weeks, inexorably sucking you in to a parallel universe. But I'm not interested. Chester have beaten Barnet 3-1 and I had the correct score with Ladbrokes at 22-1. Now that's what I call football.
With Football Manager 2005 proving one of the fastest-selling games of last year, the public appears to have accepted the new name of the game formerly known as Championship Manager. Sports Interactive isn't resting on its laurels though, as Miles Jacobson explained: "We've had a good start, but there is a long way to go yet. We're judging the sales success on the first year, rather than the first few weeks. What we're delighted with is the reaction to the game from the fans and the press. They agree that it's the best game we've ever made, and now the challenge is improving on that in future versions. We haven't set a date as yet, but I'd expect it to be roughly the same time."