Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Football Manager Stole My Life

This entry is part 49 of 66 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

Today is Sunday 1st July. Two weeks before the release of this blog and two weeks after I finished reading the book in question.

It’s been a good day.

I mentioned in the first draft of my Eminem blog how a potential Sunday hangover had me worried. I wouldn’t get done everything I wanted to. I would flop.

When I came to finish said blog earlier today, I updated it. Letting my devoted readers know I was not hungover and was having my most productive day in some time.

Well, not sure I did say that actually, but I am.

My plan this weekend was to finish my latest Man vs Bookshelf (which comes three after the subject of this blog). To edit and schedule my Eminem blog. To update my monthly reports (one for finances, one for social and website analytics). And to edit a whopping nine scenes.

I smashed it. Finished my book by 9:30 am. Finished everything else by around half four. Plus reading the first chapter of my next book (four after this one) and the next scene in my own novel which I am editing. After which I went to the shop, watched some TV and then the penalties between Russia and Spain in the World Cup. Russia won.

Mad. I’m ahead of the curve for the first time in over a week, and I’m not done yet.

It’s three minutes to six as I write this sentence and, as you can see, I’m writing my next blog. I plan to rattle out the first draft now and edit it later before I go to bed. On top of that, I want a couple more scenes of my novel and a good chunk of my next book. All before bed.

Sorry, you don’t care, do you? I’m excited. Share that with me, will you?

I’ll stop drivelling on. We’re here to do a job and that job is to write a blog.

A blog about Football Manager.


Football Manager and Me

I have a feeling I’ve spoken about football manager recently on this blog, but could be imagining it.

No, it was during a book about an actual football manager. Brian Clough’s Biography? Yes, that could be it.

Anyway, let’s talk about it here because it’s important in relation to what I said above.

The first edition of Football Manager I owned was the full computer version way back in 2005, 13 years ago.

At the time I wasn’t into football, but there was something about the game I always enjoyed. In the same way I was able to enjoy FIFA without actually watching football.

But I didn’t play it all that much. It was only when I began playing Championship Manager on my PSP that I got into it. Playing as often as I could and, if possible, things got even worse when I got into Football. That was when I started playing the full computer version once more.

According to my Steam account, I have owned the last six editions of Football Manager. Wracking up 100s of hours a year, every year, since 2013.

That sounds about right.

People who don’t play the game won’t understand this. Don’t ever understand this. But it’s all consuming. It is the biggest enemy of productivity. If I had never played it, I would have at least fourteen best selling novels by now.

Fact.

It’s so compulsive. You reach four in the morning. You say ‘one more game’ for the eighteenth time. You’re pushing towards the end of the season and you might reach it before sunrise. Not that sunrise would stop you.

You love it. You need it. You can imagine standing up in a room full of FM addicts and saying…


Football Manager Stole My Life

And it’s great to know I’m not alone.

I enjoyed this book. It’s short. It only took me a day to read, but it was an absolute thrill.

Split into several segments, two stand out. One involves the fans. Everyone from normals to footballers to celebrities. Including Ant & Dec, Robbie Williams and James Corden.

The other contains interviews with the creators of the game. Talking about their incredible journey from the game’s beginnings to where it is now.

Both of these parts were great reads, and not only for someone like me, who loves the games.

The fan stories are mad. A highlight being the man who played FM so much that his wife left him, taking his children to another country. Rather than utter misery, though, he felt only joy at being able to play unhindered FM from then on. Or the man who had his friends hold him down while they snapped the disc because of how much he was playing. Unacceptable.

Stories like this are brilliant, funny and sometimes terrifying. But anyone would enjoy them. Even if it made their mind boggle about what this game can do to a man or woman.

The interviews with the creators are great too. The tale of a start-up that went from an informal garage to a professional outfit churning out a game a year. Again, game aside, this is an incredible story and one anyone would enjoy reading.

Beyond this are stories from the many scouts FM employs around the world to keep their stats spot on. As well as stories from the writers and other general interest pieces.

The whole book is well written. It flows well, it’s engaging, and it would be of interest to anyone.

So, if you’re a Football Manager fan I’d say give this book a go. You won’t regret it.

But, even if you’re not. Why not try it anyway? You still won’t regret it.


Next Time

Hey, it’s now 18:15, 18 minutes after I last updated you about the time.

Next I’ll be moving on to more serious matters.

It’s a crime thriller, but that isn’t what it’s remembered for. Next up I’ll be reading the book that launched one of the most famous villains in literary history.

That’s right, it’s Red Dragon, and we’re talking about Hannibal Lector.

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International worst selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). Recently he is taking the internet by storm with his Man vs Bookshelf Challenge where he aims to read the 210 books on his bookshelf in 210 weeks, reviewing them on his blog and Goodreads along the way. He is also publishing books on Amazon, his most recent being the family suspense novel, Poor Choices, which you can find here.

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