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the wonder and terror of soccer.

We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.

Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.

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Football Manager 2009: Pick My Team

Thanks to some great suggestions from all of you, I’ve managed to compile a shortlist of teams for my massive public game of Football Manager 2009. Remember, the plan is to choose a desperate, abject, crushed tissue of a team, then review the game by writing a weekly chronicle of my struggle to lead them to greatness. (I use the word “struggle” out of modesty, obviously. Asking me to play Football Manager with a miserable team is like asking Mozart to compose in “a key with a lot of flats.”) So now it’s up to you to look over the list and tell me which scenario you’d find most entertaining. Vote in the comments section, and I’ll slavishly follow your will, assuming I agree with it. Here are the choices.

  1. Athletic Bilbao. Playing a team that’s already in La Liga may seem like cheating. However, playing a team that’s only allowed to sign players native to the Basque region of Spain may seem like self-flagellation.
  2. Pro Vercelli. A small-town club that won seven Italian championships between 1908 and 1922, before sinking into Serie C obscurity? Why, yes, I would like to lead them to a victory against Juventus. They even have a really cool crest.
  3. Queen’s Park. Not to be confused with Queen’s Park Rangers, Queen’s Park are the oldest football club in Scotland. They play in Hampden Park, and thus enjoy a huge advantage in facilities over the rest of the Scottish Second Division. However, they need it, as they only use amateur players. This is pretty much the hors cat├ęgorie of the FM series. It would be, anyway, if my abilities weren’t so outstanding.
  4. Afyonkarahisarspor. Not only does Afyonkarahisarspor have the most obscure name in all of FM—it’s 17 characters long, and translates roughly as “Black Castle Opium Football Club”—but their position as also-rans in the depths of the Turkish league system makes them a reasonably unlikely candidate for world-historic domination. Their city has a giant black rock rising in its center with a massive castle guarding it, and is also an important center of world opium production. The local cuisine features sausage. The role-playing possibilities are hard to summarize in one paragraph.

Remember: vote in the comments section. Results will be announced in 48 hours. I am polishing my fingernails on my shoulder and blowing the dust off them in cool anticipation.

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Football Manager 2009: Pick My Team

by Brian Phillips · November 25, 2008

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