The Run of Play is a blog about
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:
Breaking My Silence

Football Manager 2009 was released last week to the annual chorus of praise-plus-minor-quibbles that seems to be the fate of genius in the era of incremental updates. Games sites, soccer blogs, games blogs, and soccer sites all rushed to be the first to timestamp the eight-out-of-ten rating they’d settled on in July, the day the first preview came out. Only one voice was silent. But that voice was arguably the most important voice of all.

Now, as you may know, it was through playing the Football Manager series that I was first awakened to the fact that I am the greatest football manager in the history of the world, a circumstance that made it all the stranger that I withheld my thoughts on the new edition. How could I be silent, I am sure you asked, a crinkle of worry creasing the bridge of your nose, if Soccerlens, EPL Talk, Eurogamer, IGN and the rest had writers who were already able to issue pronouncements on the game?

The answer is simple. Those men are amateurs. I have a Walter Sobchak-like certainty on this point, and yet, unlike Walter Sobchak, I am not a paranoid league bowler with a love of the early episodes of Branded. I am the greatest football manager in the history of the world.

I’ll tell you why I’m so certain that no one else who has written on Football Manager 2009 has any idea what he’s doing, and why I myself have waited. It’s because you can’t review a Football Manager game based on a few hours’ or days’ acquaintance. Reviewing Football Manager is like reviewing Buddhism. Yes, you can do it, but you have to take your time.

That’s why, as my way of living with Football Manager 2009 deeply enough to judge its value as a religion, and also as my gift to the world, I’ve decided that, instead of offering up a few trite thoughts about the new 3D match engine and the addition of pre-game press conferences, I’m going to “review” Football Manager 2009 by making my game public. With your help, I’m going to pick a team, then offer weekly updates about our inexorable march to the top of a mountain made of crumpled European Cups. That way, the complexities of this richest of games can be explored in depth, and Fabio Capello can learn some helpful hints about how to mold a winning team. It’s never too late, Fabio!

Also, I can make up some crazy stories about these little people who live inside my screen.

I’m currently in the process of making a shortlist of teams to offer for your consideration. When it’s finished, I’ll ask you to vote, so check back later today. In the meantime, if you have any especially intriguing or cruel suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments.

I do mean cruel. Ebbsfleet United is like the C-major scale to me

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Football Manager 2009:
Breaking My Silence

by Brian Phillips · November 24, 2008

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